Arts & Entertainment

Double Dose of Duke - John Schneider Visits Neilsen Automotive Group

A General Lee replica outside of Neilsen Chrysler Dodge Ram. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The line of fans winds around to meet John Schneider. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Fans dressed in orange Dukes of Hazzard wear, wait to meet the star. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Josh Moran of Montague, NJ with his grandmother, Sharon Lepre of Randolph, NJ meet Schneider. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Bob, Brian and Pat Kapral of Newton and West Milford, NJ at the event. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Brian Kapral holds up a Bo Duke Bobblehead. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Evelyn Francisco with her John Schneider album. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Bill Snouffer and John Schneider smile for the camera. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider signs a "Dukes of Hazzard" tray. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Joe Prudente, a fan, poses with John Schneider. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Dodge Challengers lined up in the dealership's lot. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider's autograph on a General Lee's seat. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
George Leroy Hunter of The Alternative Press photographs John Schneider. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Steve Wronka, age 7, drives around Franklin Sussex Auto Mall in his mini General Lee. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Keith Wetzel of Vernon owns a General Lee with wife, Sandy. Pictured with Wetzel is his crew: Dave Lambert of Vernon, Ray Fairweather of Montague, RAndy Jacobs of Mine Hill, and Pat Magnus of Harvard, MA. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider signs for fans at Franklin Sussex Auto Mall at the outdoor event. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Fans lined up throughout the afternoon to meet John Schneider. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider signs an item for a fan, and her dog. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Maria Lake, 102.3 WSUS radio personality emceeing the Daisy Duke look-a-like contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Maria Lake and John Schneider at the Daisy Duke Look-a-Like Contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider observes the Daisy Dukes during the contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider on the judge's panel for the Daisy Duke contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Young Daisy Dukes along the catwalk. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
One of the "Little Miss" Daisy Dukes during the contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider and Bill McConnely pow wow on the judges panel. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
One of the youngest Daisy Dukes heads back towards the other contestants. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A "Little Miss Daisy Duke" holds onto her hat. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
John Schneider watches the contestants. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The panel of judges during the contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The "Little Miss Daisy Dukes". Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Jordan Fogelson, "Little Miss Daisy Duke" third place winner. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Mattingly Niles smiles as Claude Jaillet, General Manager of Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, hands her her gift card. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Larissa McKay, "Little Miss Daisy Duke" with Claude Jaillet. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Little Miss Daisy Dukes, and Daisy Dukes, with the excited crowd. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The panel readies for the next leg of the contest. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
One of the Daisy Duke look-a-likes makes her way down the runway. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Rachel Ackerman, a Daisy Duke look-a-like. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A Daisy Duke look-a-like enjoys her time in the spotlight. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A Daisy Duke look-a-like walks with a four-legged friend. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A Daisy Duke look-a-like sports sunglasses. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The Daisy Duke look-a-likes line up together. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The judges tally up the results. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Claude Jaillet with Brittany McKay. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Mary Bourne with Claude Jaillet. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Claude Jaillet with second place winner, Rachel Ackerman. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Claude Jaillet and Daisy Duke look-a-like, Kristen Schulman of Hamburg, NJ. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Kristen Schulman, Daisy Duke Look-a-like with John Schneider, Claude Jaillet, and the judges. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Claude Jaillet, John Schneider, and Kristen Schulman, the Daisy Duke Look-a-Like. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller


EAST HANOVER, NJ and SUSSEX, NJ – Fans poured into two of the Neilsen Automotive Group Dealerships on Friday and Saturday, bringing a sea of orange with them, as they came in to meet actor John Schneider, best known for his role as “Bo Duke” on “The Dukes of Hazzard”.

Schneider starred on the show from 1979 to 1985.

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He has attracted a range of viewers in addition to those who knew him from the “Duke Days”, for his role on “Smallville”, playing Clark Kent’s father, Jonathan.

Schneider has starred in a range of films since 1981, recorded 10 albums over his career, and has had several major guest appearances on popular shows such as “Nip/Tuck”, “Touched by an Angel”, “JAG”, “Walker, Texas Ranger”, “Diagnosis: Murder”, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”, “Desperate Housewives”, “90210”, and “CSI: Miami”.

On Friday afternoon, Schneider spent the afternoon at Nielsen Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in East Hanover, signing autographs for fans on an array of items, from photos, to mini versions of the General Lee, to video, DVD, and album covers, to t-shirts, and other media, memorabilia, and relics generated from his career.

“John is not only the world famous, ‘Bo’, he’s a good friend,” said Bill Snouffer, General Manager of all of the Nielsen Automotive Group dealerships. “We worked his coming out to Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, and he worked into his schedule to come down to East Hanover.”

Snouffer and his sales team were invited to a Chrysler Top Dealer event at the Meadowlands for Northeast dealerships. The automaker gave away $100,000 in prizes to top salespeople. Schneider coordinated his schedule to accommodate the employee’s award event at the Meadowlands.

“It’s nice my teams get to go and enjoy that,” Snouffer remarked.

Snouffer was surprised by the turnout to see Schneider on Friday, with some attendees interviewed by The Alternative Press, out on their lunch breaks from work to meet the star.

“It’s absolutely crazy the crowd that showed,” Snouffer said.

Throughout the afternoon, hundreds of fans, starting from the dealer’s entry door, wound their way and waited patiently on a line that trailed around a roped off area.

Inside the dealer, Snouffer provided Sabrett, Thumann’s, and Nathan’s Hot Dogs, and soda for attendees to enjoy. Star 99.1 broadcast the event live from the location.

Outside the dealership, vintage Dodge Challengers, and General Lees and other “The Dukes of Hazzard” replicas, were lined up by their car enthusiast owners.

Behind Schneider in the showroom was a Dodge Challenger, General Lee Edition.

How did Schneider enjoy visiting with the fans?

“It’s a great event, my favorite weekend of the year outside of seeing my family, is seeing Bill,” Schneider told The Alternative Press.

Fans were equally enthusiastic to meet Schneider.

“It was pretty cool,” said Josh Moran, who visited the East Hanover dealership from Montague, NJ with his grandmother, Sharon Lepre of Randolph, NJ.

Schneider signed a General Lee replica for Moran, and Lepre brought along a “Night of the Twisters” video cover to sign.

“It’s wonderful, I really enjoyed myself today,” Lepre chimed in.

Brian Kapral of West Milford, NJ, and his parents Bob and Pat Kapral of Newton, NJ brought a bag-full of items including a Bo Duke Bobblehead Doll. The three recently attended a “Dukes’ Reunion” in Virginia. The trio additionally displayed their Vintage Dodge Challenger on Friday.

“I grew up watching the TV series,” said Brian Kapral.

“This is nice,” said Bob Kapral.

Evelyn Francisco of Bergenfield, NJ was one of the fans who stopped by on her lunch break.

“He was a childhood crush,” Francisco said of Schneider.

She held up an album cover she brought for Schneider to sign.

“I can’t believe I found it,” Francisco mused. “I bought it at around age 11.”

James Rivera, who originally hailed from Boonton, NJ, but was back visiting family from Jacksonville, FL, said he watched the Dukes during his youth.

“I never thought I’d have a chance to meet him [Schneider], I’m looking forward to meeting him,” he said.

On Saturday, Schneider once again spent the day mingling with fans, this time signing autographs and posing for photos under the immense outdoor tent that Franklin Sussex Auto Mall pitched on their lot.

At the dealership, there was a massive barbecue celebration, car show, and the customary Daisy Duke look-a-like contest, which Schneider ends up helping to judge.

“We here at Franklin Sussex Auto Mall love keeping the ‘good ‘ol country feeling here in Sussex, with barbecues, country music, fast cars, and everyone’s favorite ‘Duke Boy’, John ‘Bo Duke’ Schneider,” Claude Jaillet, the dealer’s general manager said.

Maria Lake from 102.3 WSUS did a live broadcast from the event, and emceed the Daisy Duke look-a-like contest. Along with Schneider, judges on the panel was a retired photographer from Warwick, NY, Bob Demetry, and two of Franklin Sussex Auto Mall’s Employees, Britt Harm, and Bill McConnely.

About 13 participants under the age of 12, and 26 over the age of 13 (with one who entered at 66 years young), strutted their stuff on the catwalk under the tent with their best Daisy Duke rendition.

There were prizes for the best Daisy Dukes in both categories.

In the “Little Miss” division, Larissa McKay won first place and took home a $100 Simon Mall Giftcard. In second place was Mattingly Niles with a $50 gift card, and Jordan Fogelson in third place, who won a $25 gift card.

In the adult contest, Kristen Schulman of Hamburg, NJ was the winner, who took up a 50-inch Phillips flat-screen television. Rachel Ackerman won second place and a $200 Simon Mall Giftcard, Mary Bourne third place and a $100 Simon Mall Giftcard, and Brittany McKay, fourth place and a $50 Simon Mall Giftcard.

“I was so shocked, and so happy, I absolutely love Daisy Duke,” said Schulman of her win.

Click here for the Neilsen Automotive Group family of dealerships, which includes: Dover Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Rockaway, NJ, the Dover Dodge Used Car Center in Wharton, NJ, Franklin Sussex Auto Mall in Sussex, Franklin, NJ, Sussex Hyundai in Sussex, NJ, and Nielsen Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, in East Hanover, NJ.

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