Posted: Jan 12, 2013 8:57 AM by Dustin Klemann - MTN News
Updated: Jan 12, 2013 3:01 PM
BILLINGS - "I'm not married to you," said Sandy Rogers, wife of Chairman and CEO of KOA, Jim Rogers, who is a part-time resident of Billings.
She was astonished at the disguise donned by Jim, who assumed the role as Tim Bickford, a recently laid-off accountant for CBS's "Undercover Boss."
Laughs erupted from the hundreds in the crowd at the Babcock Theater viewing the show's new episode.
Rewind three years and Friday's premiere might not have happened; multiple requests from the shows producers were denied due to the fact Rogers and company felt they couldn't disguise him.
Rogers is a very active participant to the 475 campgrounds throughout America. But producers were determined to make the affable Rogers transform into an aloof, all-three-buttons-buttoned-on-a-polo, newbie.
Early in the episode, Rogers stutters and pauses when he introduces himself as Bickford, who comes complete with a dyed mustache and (borderline absurd) hairpiece.
Many people question if employees appearing in the show know they are actually on "Undercover Boss." Producers explain a storyline of man participating in reality show in hopes to win the monetary grand prize.
Those attending Friday's event were actively - appropriately applauding, laughing, and generally enjoying Rogers staying in character.
But it wasn't just a man concealing his identity to a group of individuals. He was learning, absorbing, understanding more about the company he runs.
The man who genuinely loves the company he's helped cultivate admitted to experiencing "emotional gymnastics" and even faced his fear of heights on a 800 foot wire-to-wire zipline at Ventura Ranch KOA.
It culminated to Rogers and KOA donating more than $100,000 to employees appearing on the show as well as a healthy donation of $50,000 to cancer-stricken children.
Mike Gast, Vice President of Communications, said Friday's celebration was exactly that - a celebration. For KOA's 50th year and continued expansion as America's king of camping, Friday's premiere meant celebrating the work of the outdoor-friendly company.