VALDOSTA — Actor Sonny Shroyer, known best for his role as Deputy Enos Strate on "The Dukes of Hazzard," was honored by the one place he calls home.

Part of the RKDS Film Festival kickoff event July 6, Valdosta treasure Shroyer received a key to the city in honor of his contributions to Georgia’s television and film industry.

“This key, from the City of Valdosta, is hereby presented to Sonny Shroyer for his accomplishments and time as an actor and for his dedication and support of the film industry in the state of Georgia,” said Valdosta City Councilman Andrew Gibbs, who presented Shroyer with the key.

The key presentation, along with a plaque from Gov. Brian Kemp commending Shroyer and all that he has done for Georgia and Valdosta, was planned in advance and to Shroyer’s knowledge.

He was, however, surprised on the old Valdosta High School — his high school alma mater — Performing Arts Center stage with an acrylic art plaque from CBS in honor of "The Dukes of Hazzard’s" 40th anniversary.

The show began in 1979 and ended in 1985. Shroyer was in the show mostly from beginning to end, with some time off starring in a spin-off series named "Enos" after his character.

The artwork displays Shroyer’s name, his "Dukes of Hazzard" character name and even a painting of his badge.

“This presentation came at the last minute, and it’s very nice,” said Roy Kirkland, RKDS Film Festival organizer.

Following the presentations was a 15-minute tribute to Shroyer’s career, which included clips from his days as Enos, his role as Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant in "Forrest Gump" and even some footage from films with the late Burt Reynolds, who attended the 2018 RKDS Film Festival.

The kickoff evening ended with a Q&A between Shroyer and Kirkland, who asked the actor about growing up as a Valdosta Wildcat and some of his favorite moments from his almost 50-year career.

“I really do appreciate y’all,” Shroyer said. “This is fantastic.” 

The RKDS Film Festival continues throughout the week at the old VHS Performing Arts Center, 3101 N. Forrest St. More information: Visit www.RKDSMedia.com.

Katelyn Umholtz is a reporter with the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256.

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