'Dukes of Hazzard' visits Wheatland


WHEATLAND – Tom Wopat, better known to many as Luke Duke from the 1980s show "Dukes of Hazzard" visited Wheatland as part of the second annual Blue Mountain Car Show and Safety Fair.

The event began Friday and ran through Sunday with many events for the entire family. The highlight of the weekend was on Saturday when Wopat and a replica of the famed General Lee Dodge Charger was on hand as part of the car show.

The event is used for a fundraiser for Project SAFE, Inc. The money raised for the event will enable them to continue to provide assistance and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other crimes through prevention, education and
social change.

Even with COVID-19, the event raised more than $5,000 to the organization during the inaugural event in 2020.

This year, Wopat’s appearance drew many people from far and wide.

“It’s a service to the 'Dukes of Hazzard' fans,” Wopat said. “I’ve not done an event like this in the Rockies in – I can’t remember the last time – at least 20, 25 years.”

Fans were able to come meet Wopat, take photos with he and the General Lee, get autographs and buy merchandise.

Social distancing was encouraged, but the nearly 70-year-old actor said it wasn’t going to stop him from engaging with his fans.

“I’ve had my shots, but it’s just to be careful because there are some people who haven’t,” Wopat said. “I make sure to engage with folks, and anyone who wants can get a picture with me and the car.”

Wopat got his start in acting on Broadway in a show called I Love my Wife in 1977 prior to making a name for himself as Luke Duke.

He has starred in 15 Broadway shows, most recently in a show in 2015 called The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson.

“I thought I’d be there for 25, 30 years,” Wopat said. “As it turns out, I was there for on and off.”

Then it was off to Covington, Georgia to produce "Dukes of Hazzard" in 1979.

“The thing about the 'Dukes of Hazzard', it was like the Andy Griffith Show. It became iconic. It was nothing anyone really planned. It just became a big part of people’s lives,” Wopat said. “Here we are 40 years later, and it still lives. We’ll have people in their 80s and 90s who remember the show, and we’ll have kids there who are six or eight years old who are third or fourth generation fans who really enjoy it.”

Even with his age, Wopat is staying busy in 2021.

His trip to Wheatland is part of a string of personal appearances he is making. In the coming weeks, he’ll make stops in Indiana, as well as Wisconsin.

He is also working on a new music album scheduled to come out next year and recently finished up two sequels to the movie County Line, which was originally released five years ago for the Inspiration Network.

“I just last weekend, finished two more films in that sequence. I play a hero,” Wopat said. “It’s much like Walking Tall. It’s family entertainment because it’s for the Inspiration Network. There’s no blood. There’s no cussing. There’s no sex.”

In addition to that, this Christmas, he will be filming a DVD at Cooter’s Place in Nashville, Tennessee, which a combination museum and shop for Dukes of Hazzard fans.

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© 2021-Guernsey Gazette

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