“Somewhere in America, every weekend, some town is celebrating their heritage somehow. These festivals are looking for entertainers for the weekends,” Caudill said.
Within the first week of launching Daniel Boone of Kentucky LLC, Caudill said his Website had received more than 1,000 visits. Suddenly, his interest in Daniel Boone was becoming more than a hobby.
“We take it for granted that this huge figure in history lived so prominently in this area,” Caudill said.
As a Daniel Boone re-enactor, Caudill said, his biggest challenge is getting people to overcome their pre-conceived notions about Boone, thanks to a popular 1960s TV show. Actor Fess Parker portrayed Boone as a rugged Indian-killer, running around the wilderness in a coon skin cap.
“That’s so far from the truth. He was everything but that,” Caudill said.
According to Caudill, Boone was a “gentleman’s gentleman,” and only killed three Native Americans in his life, in circumstances Caudill claims were beyond Boone’s control. For that reason, his favorite show to perform is “Facts and Myths of Boone’s Life,” and it is typically his most requested.
“I don’t think there has ever been a more prominent figure, especially here in the South, that we all know his name,” Caudill said.
Boone’s role in Caudill’s own life is certainly not something he ever wants to take for granted. The past few years have been life-changing, Caudill said, and he credits his Boone re-enactment with helping him discover the person he was meant to be. There is a spiritual element to his performances, and Caudill views them as his personal ministry.
“I found that peace and serenity and hope I had been looking for out here in the woods, doing Boone by myself,” Caudill said.
Two years ago, Caudill joined Calvary Christian Church, never having been a church member before, and said that he is now the happiest he has ever been in his life.
“I spent my whole life helping others, but I couldn’t help myself. In the end, it was because of this character. It changed my life. It gave me the peace and hope and serenity I had been looking for. ... You’re looking at a guy that’s got total peace and happiness,” Caudill said.
Eventually, Caudill said he hopes to spend more time at home in Winchester and less time traveling, but right now he firmly believes that God’s will is for him to continue sharing the story of Boone.
“I bring a little bit of hope to people, telling the story about life and Boone and where I’m at. People really, really relate to that. Is it the message you’re expecting to get when you come to my show? Probably not. But as long as you’re conveying that vision of hope and loving each other and being everything God created you to be, then that’s what I’m gonna do,” Caudill said.
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.