What do Elliott Sadler, Sarah Palin (who’s billed as “The First Lady of the Outdoors”) and a bunch of pastors who race cars against each other all have in common?
If you watched Thursday’s edition of “Amazing America” on The Sportsman’s Channel, you’d have found out.
While Palin hosted the show, she didn’t tag along when Sadler and a bunch of his buddies decided to go deer hunting recently near Sadler’s family’s farm in Emporia, Va.
The hunting party was a bit larger than normal – 40 dogs (“These are my kids,” Sadler said), primarily beagles and Labrador retrievers, and 25 hunters.
Oh, and let’s not forget that each of the dogs and probably at least a few of the hunters were all equipped with GPS collars to keep track of them.
And let’s not forget two-way radios and pickup trucks. “Two trucks for every person,” Sadler joked.
Sadler obviously takes his hunting seriously, telling Amazing America field host Bennie Spies – yes, that’s his real name – “Guns always in hand.”
“(I’ve been hunting) since I’ve been six years old,” Sadler said. “My dad hunted with his dad, I hunted with my dad and one day my son will hunt with me.”
Sadler went chasing after deer in his pickup truck, driving down old muddy dirt roads, kind of like the racetracks he grew up racing on in Virginia and North Carolina. When Spies asked how fast he was flying/driving down the dirt road, Sadler said, “I don’t ever look down.”
Admittedly, if you haven’t watched The Sportsman’s Channel before, it takes a little getting used to. Most of the commercials are about guns or ammunition (like Federal Premium Ammunition), crossbows, trucks, fishing lures (from Rocky Brook Sinkers) and even the National Rifle Association, which is a big supporter of the network.
Much like when Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault, Sadler’s day-long deer hunt ultimately proved to be a bust.
With more than two dozen humans and three dozen dogs, they were only able to snuff out one deer.
Who got away, by the way.
Score: Deer 1, Sadler and Co. 0.
“Long day, man, disappointing day,” Sadler told Spies. “You put too much pressure on me. We hunted hard, we tried. We put some miles on today.”
While Sadler’s segment ended at that point, Palin went on to introduce a group of pastors from around Greenbrier, Tenn., about 25 miles north of Nashville.
While these pastors pack a punch in the pulpit on Sundays, they also like to trade paint, with a group of 16 that go racing on a regular basis at Highland Rim Speedway.
The Speedway had fallen into disfavor and disrepair before track owner Roger Cunningham invested time, money and faith to improve the short track.
And to promote family values and bring families together, I might add.
“We went to the churches to get the family atmosphere back to the track,” track owner Roger Cunningham told Amazing America field host Mark Christopher Lawrence. “It’s just been a huge success.”
The racing reverends call themselves the Faster Pastors – and they take their racing as seriously behind the wheel as they do their preaching atop the altar.
When Lawrence asked several of the pastors if they partake in “friendly competition,” the response was an adamant one-word reply: “No.”
At which time, Palin popped back on screen and said (I kid you not): “Praise the Lord and pass the popcorn, it’s time to burn rubber.”
Lawrence watched as the flying friars – most in beat-up Dodge Neons – put the pedal to the metal. All that was missing was a passing of the collection plate.
As he watched the event unfold, Lawrence had a great line: “Pastor in the wall already – two of ’em.”
In the closing laps, one fired up pastor decided to take his aggression out on another one who cut him off by sideswiping his opponent.
“That ain’t very Christian,” Lawrence deadpanned.
After the checkered flag fell, Lawrence told race winner Rev. Jason Pennington, “You had the Lord on your side.”
Amen to that.
Or as Palin said afterward, “That’s Amazing America!”
Follow me @JerryBonkowski