LEE CO., GA (WALB) - A Lee County Taxidermist is putting the finishing touches on a year-long project for CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Grayson Roberts never expected to get a call from a celebrity. He says he's doing the same thing for Anderson Cooper that he does for all his customers, working hard to make sure he does a good job and makes them happy.
Hundreds of deer mounts and other animals cover Grayson Roberts taxidermy shop in Lee County. He's been in the business since 1996 even winning a Grand National Championship for his whitetail deer mount, but when he received a call to work on a project for CNN's Anderson Cooper, Roberts couldn't believe it.
" I thought it was a joke at first," said Grayson Roberts. "I was like alright its Anderson Cooper and all this, but then Anderson called me and we started talking and he told me what he wanted."
The brother of one of Cooper's co-workers lives in Lee County. Roberts has done work for him, and that's how he was recommended to the CNN personality. Cooper is creating a tribute to Teddy Roosevelt in his home and wants Roberts to complete it with two fighting life-size whitetail deer.
"Something like this, and it's actually like the one I'm holding is gone be pulling him in, you know because when deer start fighting a lot of times they'll fight til the death," said Roberts.
Each deer is about seven feet long and 60 pounds. The price tag is more than $9000.
"He wanted a competition mount so that's why the price is a little bit more but it's dramatic and I mean you could take a flashlight up and look at the mouth and you couldn't tell it was a fake jaw set," said Roberts.
Roberts says he's completed 60% of the project. One deer mount still needs eyes and its skin washed and put on allowing at least 4 to 5 days to dry. Roberts says Cooper has been pleased with the results so far.
"So when I got the first one done I sent him a picture and he was all pumped up he was pretty excited about it so it's been pretty neat," said Roberts.
Roberts says the entire project should be complete within the next couple of weeks. Roberts says it usually takes five to six hours to create a regular shoulder mount costing around $500. To create Cooper's life-size mounts requires more than 45 hours of work. Roberts plans to ship the mounts to Cooper's home but says if Cooper has trouble fixing the mounts the way he designed them he'll fly up to help him out.