Howard Stern finds new talent in New Sewickely
Jun 16, 2010 (Beaver County Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
NEW SEWICKLEY TWP. -- Manhattan left its mark on "Hillbilly" Jack Rushman.
"It's crazy up there, man," said Rushman, a New Sewickley Township resident, who took his first New York trip last week courtesy of radio star Howard Stern. "There's like millions of people going real fast."
Rushman found himself on a fast track to fame last Thursday, topping three other contestants to win Stern's "America's Next Top Wack Packer" contest.
Along with a $5,000 prize and his free stay in the Big Apple, Rushman gets to make periodic appearances on Stern's satellite radio show as one of the Wack Pack, a colorful assortment of characters with nicknames like Bigfoot, Beetlejuice, Underdog Lady, Evil Dave Letterman, Yucko the Clown and the late, great Hank the Drunken Dwarf.
Stern and his sidekicks were drawn by Rushman's website, hillbillyjack.com, which captures the 49-year-old handyman/ex-construction worker at his most colorful.
With a homepage showing Rushman's face popping through a Confederate flag, and a cursor arrow that turns into a moonshine jug, the website includes a YouTube video where Rushman rails against PennDOT for wasting 50 years trying to launch the Crow's Run highway project through Conway and New Sewickley. In that video, a laughing Rushman mischievously moves an orange traffic cone and wooden stake marking a spot for the proposed road.
While on the air Thursday, Stern told Rushman he looked like Granny from TV's "The Beverly Hillbillies." Rushman nodded and replied, "My mom looks like her, too," according to Stern's website.
In lobbying his sidekicks to vote for Rushman, Stern said he liked the Beaver County man's laugh and attitude.
Back home in Beaver County on Monday, Rushman said he likes Stern.
"He's nicer than I'd thought," Rushman said. "He's a cool guy."
Officials at Stern's Sirius-XM satellite radio show told Rushman he can expect to make four to eight appearances a year as a Wack Packer. There's even talk about a Halloween movie.
It's a good gig for a guy who comes about his nickname honestly.
"I'm a hillbilly," Rushman said. "I've lived on a hill all my life."
Scott Tady can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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