Mike Rowe, the former host of “Dirty Jobs” and current face of “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” and frequent social media darling, made one of the most talked about appearances at SHOT Show 2017.
Rowe spoke at the annual NSSF State of the Industry Dinner, talking for about 45 minutes without a speech or teleprompter, before asking for questions from the audience.
He provided some amusing anecdotes from his time as the host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel, traveling around the U.S. and shining a light on the often unappreciated professions that keep the country running.
This included a story about a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Rowe and his crew followed along with a mobile butcher named Earl who would travel to farms where he is paid to slaughter and butcher cattle.
When they arrived at a farm, a cow was brought out:
“Earl said, ‘You ready?’”
“I said, ‘Yeah, I’m ready, what do we do?’”
“He handed me a rifle, a .22. He said, ‘Go ahead and shoot the cow.’”
“Now I do some hunting, I’m not a big hunter, but I get out there and I’m not squeamish about it.”
“So I look at the cow and the cow looks at me, and I’m like, ‘Sorry,’ and I shot him. So the cow falls down, as they do when you shoot them between the eyes, and Earl moved very quickly and we skinned it and we removed the head and we cut it into four pieces and hung those pieces in the back of the van. Then we went back to his place and turned that cow into about 800 pounds of porterhouse, and filet, and sirloin, and T-bone and all the usual stuff. It was very instructive, very real, very authentic.”
The segment wound up upsetting a bunch of people, including a number of special interest groups.
“(My producer) had on her desk literally an army of angry acronyms. Anyone who saw that segment was freaking out, especially Discovery Channel, because of the gun.”
Rowe was then told he couldn’t show the use of firearms on the show any more.
The TV and voiceover star caught some heat merely for announcing that he’d be appearing at SHOT, specifically from one woman on social media who said it was “VERY disappointing” that he’d be “associating with a bunch of gun nuts.”
Rowe responded with a thought-provoking Facebook message sharing the story of how a group of his friends at the Navy SEAL Family Foundation introduced his employees to firearms training.
From Rowe’s post: “I wish I could share their stories here, but for all sorts of reasons, I can’t.” Rowe wrote. “[What I can tell you is] how remarkable it is to see people who have never even held a gun go from uncomfortable, to tentative, to comfortable, to very comfortable, to empowered. One day Marla, I hope you’ll have the opportunity to experience something similar, and listen to the stories of people who use guns to protect us.”