MKMMA Week 17 – Thank You, Brother

Yes, these posts will be a little out of order – I’ll do my best to put them up in some semblance of chronological sequence. After working the Washington Auto Show for the past two weeks with no time to write (and barely time to think!), they’re all in my head and trying to get out at the same time. Guess I could have worse demons.

 

One of the activities I participate in during my annual Washington Auto Show photography project is working with the “celebrities” who make appearances to draw attendance to the show.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with a number of sports personalities, television stars, wrestlers (always the biggest draw in terms of fans!) and the famous, once-famous and near-famous in various walks of life.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned – drum roll please – they’re people. And just like any other group of people you’ll likely encounter, each has their own unique personality.

Some are truly star-struck by their own popularity. Some are humble, simple people who turn on the character when they’re on. Some are a bit aloof and blasé and maybe a bit too fond of themselves. Others, the majority, are there because they truly love the attention of the fans, and clearly adore them as much as the fans adore the stars.

This year I had the unparalleled pleasure of working with Kevin Mack and “Horny Mike” two of the cast of History Channel’s “Counting Cars”.

That’s Counting Cars, on the History Channel, Tuesdays at 9:00pm Eastern. I know this by heart because that was the consistent plug they put in to anyone who might have been a little fuzzy as to who they were. Always delivered with a grin and a chuckle, but – always – delivered. Always promoting.

Telling everyone they meet who they are and what they do. Where have we heard that concept before?

These two guys are as real on the show and off, and are perhaps two of the most genuine, sincere people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. The show is in the “reality TV” genre, and as Kevin put it, about 5% of what you see is show for the entertainment value, but the other 95% is everyday real life. With or without the cameras rolling.

They both admit that the show has put them in a position of celebrity neither would have ever imagined, and they are truly grateful for that. The show is an spin-off from History’s immensely successful “Pawn Stars”. All the guys from the various shows have know each other from long before the TV days.

Horny Mike – Mike Henry, though you have to dig a little deep to pull that out of all the online bios – has carefully crafted his persona, even before the show. Mike is the airbrush paint artist on the custom paint side of the shop. His moniker comes from his penchant of painting (and putting) horns on anything he gets the chance to.

His character is the young, silly, goofball wild and crazy guy. And while he may be a little wild and fun, he’s anything but a silly goofball. He spent years creating and fine-tuning his character, down to his trademark – and I do mean literally trademarked – horn headband, name and accoutrements.

It’s all part of his long-term business plan. Yes, the character “Horny Mike” has and is the result of  a carefully crafted business plan. Anyone else sensing the elements of a DMP in here?

What really cause these two to stand out from everyone else I’ve met is the way they interact with the people who’ve come to see them. First off, the main star of the show, Danny “The Count” Koker was originally slated
to appear at the show. He came down with a serious case of flu at the last minute and asked these two to come in his place. Most if not all the people who were in the crown had initially been disappointed when Danny came off the schedule, but had come that night specifically because they learned that Kevin and Mike would be there in Danny’s place.

Many of the celebrities will make small talk with the fans as they come up to meet them, usually talking about their show (the actors), the game (sports figures), the big show (wrestling – truly an entertainment experience).

Kevin & Mike engaged everyone in a personal conversation, wanting to find out about them. In the end I felt like I’d spent two hours in their living room with several hundred of their closest friends.

And every time – every time – someone ended with “thanks for coming out to be here” Kevin’s and Mike’s instant, unwavering reply was “Thank You brother – you’re the reason we are who we are.” Total, sincere gratitude for what they have and for the people who make it happen.

And I’m extremely grateful to have met these two fantastic people.

 

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