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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sam, the Original Carolina Hillbilly

When traveling, I am always using like using Roadside America's iphone app to scan for unusual things to check out.  One attraction struck me as odd, but definitely something right up my ally.

It is the rare attraction that is itself a  human being:  Sam, the Original Carolina Hillbilly.  The title is strikingly self-explanatory.  Sam, is a hillbilly, who markets himself as a roadside tourist attraction.  This was something I had to see for myself.

I rolled up into a spot on the map known as Gertin, NC. 

As I a side note, while looking for Gertin, I found a tractor shaped crop circle on google earth.

I came across this sign on the side of the road.

I walked over to Sam's porch and there was a sign that said "No Trespassing".  I was getting a mixed messaged and was a little confused on what to do.  Then I saw a lawn mower heading my way from down the road.

I asked if he was Sam and he replied "All day" and shook my hand.  It seems as though Sam had quite a few beers on this date.  He was happy to pose for pictures, but spent the entire time grumbling about how his lawnmower was broken.  The man is definitely photogenic.

Sam told me that he gets a lot of visitors from all over the world including Belgium and Germany.

The marketing here is genius.  What tourist to our area does not want to meet a real live Hillbilly?   Hillbilly imagery is constantly being used in drawing in tourists in this area.

His self promotion reminds me a great deal of Popcorn Sutton.  Its genius, really.  He sees people making money of the Hillbilly image and decides he wants a piece of the pie.  All he had to do was paint a plywood sign and BAM he is a tourist attraction.

I think the most remarkeable thing here is the lack of back story.  He obviously isn't the first Hillbilly and certainly not the only one, but he is the one making a living off of it.  In some ways he is the Paris Hilton of Hillbillies:  He is famous for being famous.

It works for me though.  For his simple marketing genius in selling himself as a Hillbilly I am giving Sam entrance into The Hillbilly Hall of Fame.

The Carpetbagger

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