What can get wilder than a Donald Long-promoted race where there are as many people standing on the starting line as there are in the stands?
How about a Donald Long, Duck X Promotions talent search?
This is the story of how the sordid contest grew legs, which over the last few days have run at warp speed.
Earlier this month, Long became aware his colorful announcers Brian Lohnes and Lee Sebring would be unable to announce at the No Mercy 10 (October 17-20, 2019) due to scheduling conflicts with the race series they announce for.
Long being Long, pondered aloud his dilemma through his popular Facebook channel, which is filled to capacity for a friends list. The suggestion of needing announcers created a firestorm of impromptu auditions which took on a life of their own.
You see, those who follow the man more commonly known by his nickname Duck, take friend following to a whole new level. At least that’s how Long sees.
“They are a little stalkerish, I’m not going to lie to you,” Long said with a smile. “They got a little stalker in them for sure. I love these guys, man. They’re sending in stuff that’s awesome. There’s actually been a couple really good ones. I’m shocked about how good a couple of them are.
“I’m happy to see them coming in. I really am. So it’s cool these guys are playing along. I’m going to be honest with you a lot of them man, they’re really wanting to get in there and be part of the show.”
As much as Long is loving the attention, he laments the fact his showcase announcing team will miss the event.
“It’s a huge letdown,” Long admitted. “When I heard NHRA, because I waited for NHRA to put out their dates, so when I put out my date, at the time we were clear on the Lohnes deal. So when that happened, that burst my bubble pretty bad. And then you know with Lee, the PDRA thing falling the same time, it just, it was a crushing blow for sure and that’s why I want to try to bring some other excitement to it and just get a different take from some other people that are going to be on the microphone.”
Long’s positive spin on the unorthodox announcer search is it opens up an opportunity for some talented microphone person to get their big break.
“I think it’s the same way with, you know you get people singing on a street corner, and I’ve heard some people and you know if they were in the right place at the right time, they’d be the one making millions of dollars ,” Long explained. “I think it’s a great thing for drag racing personally. Not just tooting our own horn but I thought it was a really cool idea and something to make drag racing, make it fun, even more fun on the promoting side of it and the fan side of it and bring somebody else in that might not get a chance.
“They definitely wouldn’t get a chance at a huge event like that. Could you really imagine NHRA getting rid of, or not having a couple of their guys there and just bringing in somebody off the street?”
As with most of his “out there” ideas or promotions, he was spitballing ideas with a longtime friend and associate known simply as Lenco Jim, when the golden opportunity presented itself.
“We were talking about it on the phone, and the Duck Idol deal I came up with the name,” Long explained. “But me and Lenco was talking about how, what we were going to do. I called him up on the way in, I was on the way, we were doing the stage out there at Valdosta marking off spots and I called him on the phone. I said, ‘Man, we’re in a heck of a bind with this thing. It’s going to suck not having these great guys there to do it. We’re going to have to put some kind of spin on this thing and try to make it fun.”
“That’s when we came up with the people auditioning and then he said, ‘Hey, you ought to have them do the videos and send them in.”
“Well let’s do around 60-second videos.”
Admittedly, it’s provided some much-needed comedy relief for the Duck and Lenco Jim.
“I’m going to say, listen, as messed up as some of them are, I really think that most of them, 90 percent of them are actually trying,” Long said. “One thing is this for sure, I think that we’re showing some awareness for some mental health issues that are out there, I guess would be the best way to put it.”
Anyone who has ever experienced the high-intensity Duck X Productions control tower understands the last thing the situation needs are a couple of off-kilter announcers into the chaotic mix which sometimes resembles a mix of a kiddie daycare and kennel for wayward canines.
“Absofrigginlutely, it’s what we need,” Long admitted. “They’ll fit right into the show.”
Long knows, understands and embraces thinking outside of the box. After all, this is the staple which has made his shows rousing successes for the last decade.
” I think it’s one of those deals to where listen, you’re talking 10 years or longer really, of trying to come up with new ideas. To be honest, as hard as you would think that it is, man I can get on the phone for a few minutes and we can come up with a whole bunch of stupid stuff to do. So it’s kind of, I think it just flows to be honest with you. It’s not like we have to sit around for three or four days trying to think of something to do. Like it really pops in pretty quickly.
“There’s even videos of this stuff that we’ve done that I wouldn’t release to the public. You know what I’m saying? We’ve done some things that we’re, and you know that if I won’t release them, obviously they’re not good. So we’ve done a lot of other cool things and we sit there and look at it and go, ‘Yeah, this probably’s not a good idea.”
“Me and Lenco do have a pact and that’s if I do die, that he has full permission to release all of the rated X content, you know all the double blue jay, under Superman’s cape Area 51 stuff, we’re going to go ahead and let him release it.
“At my funeral, it’s going to have big loudspeakers and we’re going to be playing the s*** out of whatever it was we were hiding.
Who knows when that will be, hopefully, later than sooner, if the Duck Idol isn’t the death of him.
Long said he will likely make the final decision on his winners April 1, 2019
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019