When Art Rude of Bismarck wanted to minimize his daily carb intake and feed his high-calorie, fast-food biscuit to his dog, he never thought the health-conscious act would earn him $2,000.
Hardee's breakfast biscuits made Rude's bulldog, Sadie, drool uncontrollably.
"When I started opening the biscuit's wrapper, I was amazed," Rude said. "It was like you turn on the valve to a faucet."
Rude had not seen anything like it.
"It had to be a Hardee's biscuit," Rude said. "She wouldn't drool for any other restaurant's biscuit."
After several drooling episodes, Rude decided to video Sadie and her slobbering.
The video clip proved to
"I was showing my friends at the local pub the video and they thought it was such a scream," Rude said. "It really cracked them up."
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Rude's friends insisted that he submit the clip to ABC Family's "America's Funniest Home Videos." He agreed and sent in the recording, but later realized he needed to file and sign 14 pages of legal documents for the network's rights to the video.
Rude said his initial reaction to the paperwork was "No, I'm not going to sign all this for a stupid video clip."
He considered the funny recording "commercial-worthy" and he had hopes of selling the
30-second clip to the Hardee's franchise as an advertisement for its biscuits.
"I was thinking in the back of my mind the video would make a great commercial for Hardee's," Rude said. "I mean, it was legit."
A couple of weeks later, the producer for "America's Funniest Home Videos" called Rude on his cell phone.
"I read the whole thing, but I'm not going to hire a lawyer to approve the pages of documents for a short video clip," Rude told the producer. "It looks to me like I'm signing over all rights to my dog."
The producer explained that the documents entitled the rights only to the video and were strictly for promotional purposes. Fourteen pages of filing and a few weeks later, Rude was verified as a finalist for the show.
Rude was expected to fly to Los Angeles for the taping of the episode. Coincidentally, the trip was scheduled for the same day he was set to begin first semester classes as the associate professor of math/physics at Bismarck State College.
"My whole program is set up to help people who struggle in mathematics," Rude said. "That first day of class is absolutely critical. I have to be there."
In his place, his daughter Hannah Wickey and her 7-year-old son Gavin went as the video's exhibitors. They flew to California for an all-expense paid trip.
"I figured, even if we do not win the big prize, we were already winners," Rude said. "Not too many people can say the family bulldog sent the family on an expense-paid trip to Disneyland."
The episode aired Oct. 3. The video took third place and Rude was awarded a prize of $2,000.
"It was less than we had hoped for," Rude said. "Some people found the video hilarious, but some people found it gross."
Nevertheless, the contest money helped Rude achieve a lifetime goal.
"Sadie's prize money allowed me to increase the publishing package for my book, ‘My Druthers,'" Rude said.
American government, people's changing attitudes as society changes, hypocrisy about religion, and the definitions of personal success and happiness are the central ideas for Rude's self-published book.
"I've worked for these various issues all my life," Rude said. "I'm a ‘change-the-world' kind of guy. This book, to a certain extent, is a synopsis to my life."
Rude's book is written in an unconventional format; it is a list of 21 "druthers" - choices or preferences - for American life. "My Druthers" is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and on Kindle, as well as other outlets that support self-published books.
"I have a lot of diverse ideas in this book," Rude said. "Some of them aren't necessarily mainstream. It's definitely not ‘run of the mill.'
"I want to make sure to generate some discussion and get people involved in issues they find interesting. More importantly, I want to put some ideas out in front of people that are different," Rude said. "If I don't get things in motion, I know for sure they will never happen."
Likewise, if Sadie did not have an appetite for Hardee's biscuits, Rude would not have had the resources to successfully promote his self-published book.
"The experience of AFV was fun, and it really helped with the publishing of ‘My Druthers,'" Rude said. "It's another situation that proves everything happens for a reason; too many of us concentrate on ‘arriving' at a certain destination, when, really, life is all about the road. It's all about the traveling and the experience."
(Jessica Lee is a student at Bismarck High School. To reach her, call 250-8256.)