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Three Ducks in Little Rock (Why They Matter)

by Dr. Kent Moors | published September 30th, 2011

Legend has it that one weekend some 80 years ago, Frank Schutt, then the general manager of the famed Peabody Hotel in Memphis, had gone duck-hunting in Arkansas with some good ole’ boys. They had been imbibing a bit too much Tennessee sippin’ whiskey. And on their return, Frank thought it would be funny to put their live decoy ducks (it was legal back then for hunters to use live decoys) in a beautiful fountain – smack dab in the middle of the hotel’s lobby.

Three small English call ducks were chosen for the prank.

But the ducks soon became so famous, they stayed. They’re still there.

Every afternoon at 5, the duck master comes out to a crowd of onlookers and marches the three residents from their fountain to their residence, only to return – to much fanfare – the next morning.

In the intervening years, the traditions extended to other Peabodys. Today, it continues at only a few. The gorgeous high-lobbied edifice in Little Rock is one of them.

That’s where I was yesterday, giving the annual keynote address to the Arkansas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Organization.

These are the oil and gas operating companies that work to bring up both conventional and unconventional (mainly shale gas) volume in the state.

With cameras at the ready, a crowd of people swarmed together in the hotel lobby that morning.

But not to hear me.

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