Story by Sarah Naron
There’s an old adage that says, ‘I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!’ Many Texans, despite having been born outside its borders, possess a deep sense of pride in the Lone Star State and are quick to make it known whenever the opportunity arises.
Chad Prather, whose roots trace back to Augusta, GA, is no exception.
“I got to Texas 20 years ago; I came to Fort Worth for a business trip and fell in love with it,” he explained. “I was down here for a business trip, and I just said, ‘You know, this is where I wanna be.’ And six months later, the truck was packed up, and I was headed to Texas. I haven’t looked back.”
Throughout the past two decades, Prather has dedicated large amounts of his time and effort to promoting and preserving the well-being of Texas, recently taking this commitment a step further by embarking on a gubernatorial run.
Having come from a rural upbringing himself, Prather has a soft spot for residents of the many small towns sprinkled throughout the state of Texas.
“I’ve always been someone who relates to the lifestyle of country folks,” he said. “I make a lot of jokes about what it’s like being from the country, but really and truly, when it comes to the values and the way of living, it’s far superior to some of the other aspects that you could be living in.”
In the event that he is elected governor next November, one of Prather’s main priorities will be working to ensure that small-town citizens will be represented more fairly, something he feels is currently not being done.
“One of the things that I think people are missing these days in terms of importance is the folks that are out in the rural areas tend to be forgotten in exchange for our six big cities in the state,” he said. “But you know, those blue-collar, hard-working folks – they’re the ones that really are the backbone not only of our country, but the backbone of Texas. And I’m one of those who’s tried to be a voice, historically, for the blue-collar country folks, and now, I’ve gotten involved in politics for the same reason.”
Prather shared that he was also compelled to run for governor due to the apparent lack of choice Texas citizens were given in terms of how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year, in July, I was in South Dakota, and I got a news notification that Gov. Greg Abbott had handed down another shutdown for businesses as well as another mandate,” he recalled. “I just felt like we were being treated like children. It was an unconstitutional mandate. You know, the Constitution wasn’t written to keep us safe, it was written to keep us free.”
It was at that point, Prather said, he decided he “had just had enough.
“South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem had never shut down her state, and I was inspired by that,” he continued. “And I said, ‘You know, that’s enough. I’m gonna run for governor of Texas.’”
Upon publicly throwing his hat into the ring of gubernatorial candidates, Prather was surprised by what he described as a “groundswell of support.
“People have been more than gracious and more than supportive,” he said. “I love to tell people that this is a grassroots campaign, which is politispeak for, ‘We’re broke, and we’re doing is because we’re trying to use our platform and our voice to really make a difference in a big way.’ And I think we’re already doing that. We’ve got the opportunity to remind people that Texas is a great state, but Texas could be even greater. We’re still writing the history of Texas. We’re still determining our legacy. We’ve got great heroes and characters of years past in Texas, but it’s time for us to step up and be the next generation of heroes and make sure that Texas not only stays free, but stays great.”
Prior to entering the race for the Texas Capitol, Prather amassed a large following on social media roughly six years ago when he began posting videos of himself sharing his fast-talking thoughts on prominent issues facing society.
“I had no idea that something as simple as putting your camera phone on the dashboard of your truck and talking to it while sitting in traffic could be such an effective means of communication,” Prather said. “And the rest is history. Things went viral.”
Prather shared an amusing anecdote regarding his mother, who, at the time, was unaware of the definition of the term “viral” as it relates to social media.
“She called me on the phone and said, ‘Are you sick?’ And I said, ‘Why would you ask that?’” Prather remembered. “She said, ‘Well, someone at church told me that you’d gone viral.’ And she had no idea what that meant.”
The journey that has since followed, Prather said, has been an interesting one.
“It’s been interesting that we have this 21st-century medium of social media that gives people a platform and a voice to get out there in front of people the way that it does,” he said.
In addition to his social media stardom, Prather has expanded his fan base through live performances featuring both comedy and music.
“I always felt like I needed to go make a living just running my mouth,” he said, reminiscing on what led him to pursue a career as an entertainer. “I was in the nonprofit world for a number of years and traveled all over the world working with indigenous peoples. Then, I wound up in the corporate world for a few years, and finally, I just said, ‘I’m gonna go make a living being myself.’ A lot of people asked me what the street value was on my personality, and I said, ‘Well, we’re gonna find out.’”
Prather went on to begin hosting a radio and television show before embarking on his own live tours.
“It’s been amazing how we’ve been able to brand it and turn it into something actually marketable over the years,” he said.
In his recent shows, Prather has been joined by his friends Steve Helms and Ben McPherson, with whom he has formed a musical ensemble known as The Ragamuffins.
“I’ve always been involved in some form of music; I use it for comedy and for entertainment in my shows,” Prather explained. “A few months ago, I was sitting on my couch and playing my guitar, and I was thinking about how good the acoustics happened to sound in that living room. So, I called my friends that have their own music careers, and I said, ‘Come over here, I’ve got an idea.’”
This prompted the launch of a series of YouTube videos dubbed Songs from the Sofa, which can be seen on Prather’s YouTube channel.
“It got some popularity, and I said, ‘Well, let’s give this thing a name,’” Prather continued. “We settled on The Ragamuffins, because that’s kind of what we are – we’re just kind of a ragtag group of guys that get on stage and make things up as we go. We started doing live shows that dovetailed nicely with my comedy shows, and people really gravitated toward it. We’re having a lot of fun doing it.”
This month, Prather will add another item to his ever-growing list of accomplishments with the September 21 release of his book, ‘Am I Crazy? An Unapologetic Patriot Takes on the Insanity of Today’s Woke World.’
“It’s a series of ramblings and musings – just, you know, random thoughts – similar to my truck monologues,” Prather said of the book. “I think the world has gone crazy, and I think we all have embraced some level of craziness in order to just function in today’s world. It’s my unapologetic way of looking at the world and using my form of humor and common sense to shed light on the insanity that we have embraced as a culture.”
When asked to identify the most rewarding aspect of his various endeavors, Prather was quick to mention the people that he has been given the chance to meet along the way.
“We’ve had opportunities to meet everybody from politicians to dignitaries to celebrities,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we love just getting out and visiting with real citizens – real people across the state of Texas. We’ve made so many friends and just expanded our sphere of influence as well as friendship. For me, being an extrovert, it’s fantastic. We’re always looking for the next thing.”
The most challenging part of taking on all of his projects, Prather said, is that it obviously leaves him with “a lot to juggle.
“I’m typically doing live shows in about 30-35 states a year, plus the studio schedule of doing the television show for The Blaze, plus juggling family obligations and in our various businesses that we have,” he explained. “And then, you couple in a gubernatorial run for the state of Texas. I think I live up to the title of my book. ‘Am I Crazy?’”
Despite his life’s frenetic pace, Prather is satisfied with all of his current goings-on and always looking to expand his horizons.
“I’ve always been what I consider a hustler,” he said. “I love to go; I don’t want to slow down. I like new challenges, new adventures, new opportunities, and we’re constantly pursuing those.”
Prather is helped along the way by a team of staff that he described as “a great group of folks.
“For us, the challenge is time and making sure that everything we do, we do well, because we really want to do things with excellence,” he said. “A friend and mentor of mine said, ‘Make sure you’re managing your schedule and that your schedule is not managing you.’ So, I’m trying to live by that. Most people look at my calendar, and they don’t understand how in the world we can do what we do. But we make it work, and it’s been a fascinating little journey.”
In addition to his present-day team, Prather has gleaned inspiration and assistance from various figures over the years.
“I’ve had a couple of mentors – from pastors to friends who have just really spoken into my life with wisdom and given me a lot of balance and given me the opportunity to kind of walk in their footsteps and model their lives and their wisdom,” he said. “I’ve been blessed by them.”
A self-described “fond student of Texas history,” Prather also spoke of the influence of prominent figures in the state’s history, such as Sam Houston.
“These very fallible, scarred human beings, who – in spite of their weaknesses personally and characteristically – still did great things for the state of Texas,” he said. “I’m inspired by history, and I try to mix that with the wisdom of those who guide me today. Hopefully, I’m following in those footsteps to the point where I’m making a difference myself.”
Prather also has a strong support system in his family, which consists of five children – three daughters, two sons – and his wife, Jade, a Fort Worth native whom he met at a dance hall.
“I’ve done everything that I can to try to keep my kids out of the spotlight,” Prather said. “They really don’t have any desire to be in the spotlight. But they’ve been vastly supportive. They’re quite accomplished in their own right with their own unique, individual accomplishments in both education and various endeavors. They’ve been encouraging.”
The family maintains a positive outlook on life and strives to ensure that everything they take on is something that brings joy.
“We’ve always just said, ‘Hey, if we’re not having fun, we’re not gonna do it,’” Prather said. “’If we’re having fun with something, let’s pursue our passions.’ That’s how I live my life, and thankfully, that’s how they live their lives as well. They’ve been great with everything, and they’re such well-balanced kids and just so uniquely talented and gifted. We’re just having fun with it.”
When asked if he has any advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps, Prather stressed the importance of remaining true to oneself.
“You’ve gotta be genuine, and you’ve gotta find your voice. Don’t try to be somebody else,” he said. “I spent a lot of my life looking at my mentors, admiring them, and wanting to be them. And I learned years ago that I was going to fail over and over as long as I continued to do that.”
To illustrate his point, Prather referenced the biblical story of King David, which can be found in 1 Samuel 17.
“Before he was a king, they tried to put Saul’s armor on him before he went out and fought Goliath. And he said, ‘This is not how I operate; I can’t fight with this armor on me,’” Prather pointed out. “And so, he had to be himself.”
Prather also spoke of the need for an individual to “find a vision” for his or her life.
“Vision is seeing beyond your boundaries, and when you see that thing that inspires you, it’ll wake you up every morning and give you passion to pursue it,” he said. “Then, have the discipline and be willing to take the risk to step out – even if it means stepping out into nothing – to truly be yourself. I think that when people are genuine, they find a much quicker road to success.”
Prather’s quick-witted sense of humor shone through prominently when he was asked to name something his fans would be surprised to learn about him.
“The old adage goes, ‘You put your pants on one leg at a time,’” he pointed out. “Not me! I put them on both legs at a time. I’m that amazing.”
According to Prather, at the end of the day, he is just “one of those guys who has hit rock bottom numerous times in his life.
“If you ever hit rock bottom, look around – you’ll see my name scribbled on the wall in a few places,” he said. “But the difference is, I’ve always just been an optimist. I believe in picking myself up and moving myself forward.”
Prather acknowledged that he is “as flawed as they come,” but said that he has no qualms about those imperfections potentially being brought to light in the midst of his gubernatorial campaign.
“People always ask me, ‘Are you worried about your skeletons in the closet when it comes to running for office?’” he said. “I say, ‘We have my skeletons out in the front yard like a Halloween decoration with candy in their lap. We’ve got our skeletons on display.’”
Those who know him and those who follow him on social media, Prather said, are well aware that he is “just a real person.
“I’ve done a lot of good in my life, I’ve done a lot of bad in my life, and all of it has worked together to make me who I am,” he said. “At the end of the day, my mother seems to be pretty proud of me, and as long as she’s happy, I’m happy.”
Regardless of whether his future includes a move into the Governor’s Mansion, Prather has vowed to remain steadfast in his support for the Lone Star State.
“No matter what, I see a massive shift in how I’m going to function as a citizen of Texas for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’ve seen too much at this point. I’ve been dismayed by things that are happening in the government sector and the fact that we’re not being represented properly in the state. Whether it’s holding office or working in activism, I want to work hard to use my voice from now on to make sure that Texas stays the great state that it is. I feel like we’re being out-Texas’d by other states in many ways, and I don’t think that Texas is the Texas that most Texans think it is these days.”
Prather went on to express determination to avoid getting “mired down in the dirtiness of politics” like so many who have made previously made their own political forays.
“I think that a lot of people have embraced this paradigm of politics which is built on beating someone else,” he said. “I don’t like that philosophy. I want to build others up and make corrections along the way. And we’ve lost sight of that. I think we need to get back to that – no matter what – and I’m hoping that I can be an influence in that area.”
For Prather, “every day is a surprise,” and he is eager to see what lies ahead.
“I don’t know why God parted the heavens and put His blessings on me the way that He did,” Prather said. “But we’re blessed and extremely humbled by the support we get. It’s one big, fun adventure.”
Every day is a surprise for me. I don’t know why God parted the heavens and put His blessings on me the way that He did, but we’re blessed and extremely humbled by the support we get. It’s one big, fun adventure.”
Those interested in staying up to date on Prather’s endeavors can follow him on Facebook or visit his website, www.watchchad.com. More information on his political campaign can be found at www.prather22.com.