NCBA Hall of Fame Personal Biographies

Jerry Elijah Rushing

Inducted February 27, 2013

Jerry was born in 1936 in Monroe, NC

Service:

  • President: 1972 - 1975

Bowhunting Accomplishments:

Jerry received 54 patches for various species of Big and Small Game animals, birds and fish taken with bow and Arrow.from the NFAA.(National Field Archery Association).

Whitetail Deer - unknown number. In 1974, he had documented over 40 deer taken with bow and arrow.

Black Bear - (1) from Yancey County in 1970; Pope and Young score is 18 6/16”. It is the first Black Bear officially recorded taken in N.C. with bow and arrow.

Wild Turkey-unknown number. Jerry shot 4 or 5 with his bow. One was featured in an article in the April, 1974 issue of Bowhunter Magazine. The beards and spurs, and all his animal mounts were destroyed in a fire at his Archery shop in Monroe, N.C.

The list of animals taken by Jerry is long, including: feral hog, Wild Boar, Fallow deer, Sika deer, rams, bison, squirrel, rabbit, and fox. Jerry has taken numerous fish such as carp, gar, and suckers.

Nominated by: Ramon Bell, Mickey Strader

Pioneering

History of the beginning of NCBA and Biography of Jerry Elijah Rushing.

The following information was documented from interviews with Jerry Rushing on October 31 and November 11, 2012 by Mickey Strader, JR Stone and Ramon Bell; and interviews with Jerry’s daughter, Darlene R. Tarlton, and from reviewing newspaper and magazine articles provided by Darlene R. Tarlton.

Jerry gave the following statements: “About 1972.. Jim Duncan; Cecil Musselwhite; Jim Hogan and I got to talking, and we decided that if we were going to get anything done for bowhunting, we needed to get organized so we’d have a voice to speak out for our sport in Raleigh with the wildlife commission. We hired a lawyer and got a corporate charter drawn up. We set up a meeting and the president didn’t show up for it. His name was Bob Bowling. He worked for a TV station and we all hung around with Wayne Barefoot and all them boys at Barefoot Archery Shop. I asked Bob if he would take over as president, and he said he would. He seemed interested and said he’d take the job and try to do something with it. But he didn’t show up for the meetings.

Then, Jack Smith got involved a couple years later, about 1974-75, and he’s the one that really got it going. Jerry said, “We really didn’t know what we were doing, but Jack was organized and he put it all back together and got it organized.” Jack had been a member of the NCBA since its inception in 1972. Jack probably knows more about the “old days” and beginnings of the NCBA than anyone. He can recall when NCBA grew from it’s beginning to what it is today because he was there from the beginning.

Initially, we met at Sherwood Bow Club in Monroe, NC. That was a bow shop and range that I owned. We had a clubhouse and a 28 target outdoor course, and also an indoor archery range with 10 shooting lanes. We met once a month for a while, then we realized we couldn’t do anything because, as Jerry days, “We wasn’t smart enough, or just didn’t know which way to go to get anything done.”

Jerry said, “I knew Jack for years, and I just asked him to help with it. I could see he was interested, so he said he’d take it and try to do something with it. So, after a while, he got the charter renewed and got it going again.” Then, Dennis Allman and some others got involved, and they were the ones, along with Jack Smith, that really rebuilt it and got it going the way it is today.

Jerry Rushing opened the Chestnut Hunting Lodge in 1983 and still runs it on a limited basis to this date. (November 11, 2012.)

Jerry Rushing is best known for being the person that the TV series, “Dukes of Hazard” was fashioned after. Rushing was born into a family business making illegal whiskey. As a young man he became a delivery driver, (often known as a Moonrunner”) This was a job requiring late-night high-speed driving, often without headlights; for this, he used a modified 1958 Chrysler 300D capable of speeds of 140 mph, easily more than most police vehicles of that day, which he nicknamed “Traveler” (one L), after Robert E. Lee’s favorite horse favorite horse, Traveller (two Ls). The car was eventually abandoned when it ran out of gas during a chase. It was sold from a police impound into the private collector's market, and has since been restored by Laurence Wolfel. Rushing eventually turned to a career in stock car racing. Among the drivers he raced against were Junior Johnson, himself a former Moonrunner, and Wendell Scott, the first black (African-American) NASCAR driver. Rushing allegedly invented or perfected maneuvers known to stunt drivers today such as the "bootleg" turn, or "180", which requires defeating the emergency brake ratchets in order to lock the wheels to execute a 180 degree spin.

In the early 1970s, while doing research for an upcoming movie, producer Gy Waldron obtained an oral history from Rushing. Waldron would later use these interviews, along with his own experiences growing up in Kentucky as material for the 1975 B-Movie, Moonrunners, which would go on to be reworked as the basis for the TV series, The Dukes of Hazard production of which began in late 1978 (first broadcast in January 1979). Rushing was not credited for the biographical details he claims were recreated in both works, and sued for royalties, receiving an undisclosed settlement.

Rushing claims thirteen characters from the film or series were modeled on himself or people he knew, including:

  • He was the inspiration for Bo Duke.
  • His car Traveler was the inspiration for the General Lee (indeed, a car named Traveler is seen in Moonrunners, and the name for the General Lee in pre-production was also Traveler)

Rushing performed stunt work and appeared uncredited as Jake Rainey's bodyguard in Moonrunners. He also had a guest role in a very early episode of the TV Dukes of Hazard series, as crooked used car salesman, Ace Parker, in the episode "Repo Men". Rushing had understood the performance to be the start of a recurring role, return in part for his supplying creative material from his experiences, but it was the only time the character was ever seen or mentioned. This appearance led to a career as a minor character actor, mainly playing rednecks, sheriffs, and truckers. With the release of the Dukes of Hazard movie, Rushing has stepped up marketing for a self-produced documentary called Traveler.

He also had minor roles in movies such as: “Murder in Coweta County” (1983) with Andy Griffith & Johnny Cash; “Living Legend” about Elvis Presley, (with Roy Orbison, Earl Owensby), starring Jerry Rushing and David Allen Coe (1982); He played a Blacksmith in Young Daniel Boone, a TV series starring Rick Moses; and “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia”, starring Dennis Quaid; Don Stroud and Christy McNichols.

Jerry Rushing drove race cars for about 12 years.. at dirt tracks in Charlotte, Bowman-Gray in Winston-Salem, N.C., Lancaster, S.C., and others. He broke his neck in a race in Lancaster, SC. His car flipped end over end when that happened. Jerry raced from 1950 to 1962, and raced against some of NASCAR’s early year’s drivers like such as Junior Johnson, Buck Baker, Tim and Fonty Flock; and Wendell Scott, the first black NASCAR driver.

The NCBA Corporate Charter was suspended September 19, 1975 and was reinstated May 4, 1976 to Charles “Jack”Smith. This charter was recorded in the Union County Register of Deeds and certified by Thad Eure, Secretary of State of North Carolina.

In the early years, the NCBA built its membership up to about 100 members when it was at its peak. Then, about 1974-1975, there was a sharp decline in interest and participation of members in the activities of those days.

Jack Smith, who now also serves as the Secretary of the “Professional Bowhunter’s Society” (PBS), assumed leadership of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association (NCBA) in 1975 as President from Jerry Rushing and began reorganizing the NCBA into what it basically is today.

The “NCBA”, as it exists today, in reality, was begun in 1975, but it was really founded in 1972 when Jerry Rushing, along with several others decided to get the initial corporate charter drawn up and approved.

Jerry wrote and published articles in Bowhunter Magazine; Lone Star Bowhunter Magazine; Wildlife in N.C.; Archery World; The American Bowhunter; The National Bowhunter; The Carolima Sportsman and North Carolina Bowhunter.

Bowhunting Awards

  • Art Young Master Bowhunter Award presented by the NFAA (Year unknown)
  • Field and Stream honor badge.. (Year and what it was for is Unknown)
  • NFAA Gold Arrows (3)
  • NFAA Silver Arrows (3)
  • NFAA Gold Crossed Arows (2)
  • NFAA Sliver Crossed Arrows (3)
  • NFAA Gold Art Young Arrow Heads (2)
  • NFAA Silver Art Young Arrow Head (1)
  • NFAA Patches received for animals taken with bow and arrow (54)

| 6.12.2013 |