Turtleman invades Perry car dealership

awoolen@macon.comApril 23, 2014 

PERRY -- People drove from hours away to get an autograph.

Despite the pouring rain Friday afternoon at David Ragan Ford, 4-year-old Drew Sumner came with his family from Sylvester to get an autograph from Animal Planet’s Turtleman, Ernie Brown Jr.

Brown is the star of “Call of the Wildman.” His nickname was given to him after he caught a 25-pound snapping turtle when he was 7 years old, according to Animal Planet’s website.

“(Drew) was Turtleman for Halloween,” said his mother, Teresa Sumner.

As he clung to his mother’s side, Drew tried to see around and above the crowd to get a glimpse of his favorite TV show host.

Taylor Woodard, a fourth-grader at North Dodge County Elementary School, had her Turtleman T-shirt on, ready to get it signed.

“She’s a big fan,” said father Slade Woodard, who works at Robins Air Force Base.

The event of about 200 people included signings and photo opportunities with Brown, NASCAR driver David Ragan and older brother Adam Ragan.

David Ragan met Brown a few years ago, said father Ken Ragan, general manager of the dealership.

“Turtleman wanted to have some peace and quiet, and David invited him to come down,” he said.

Brown is a regular attendee of NASCAR races. The two went to a piece of land David Ragan owns, and Brown found some arrowheads in the woods.

“It’s been fun having him here,” Ken Ragan said.

The dealership hopes to have a bigger event in the fall with a “Call of the Wildman” contest.

Brown seemed to be having a good time as well. He let out his “call” more than once.

For two hours, the Kentuckian dipped grown women, posed for pictures and signed more than one child’s hat.

Hayes Keadle, 6, of Macon had on a vest and a hat to look like the Turtleman.

His mother, Ann Keadle, said Hayes also dressed up as Turtleman for Halloween last year.

Hayes also could do Turtleman’s yell.

“This is like Christmas and birthday,” Ann Keadle said about her son getting to meet his hero. “He’s just a hoot.”

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