November 2019

5 Drinks with Logan Cambron: The Chicken Man of Hilton Head just wants you to slow the cluck down.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

He’s drinking:
Homemade apple pie moonshine
(“I’m usually a white russion guy; keeps my bones strong.”)

iIm drinking:
Miller Lite, from Cabron’s massive pre-cambrian stockpile

Every town needs a folk hero. On Hilton Head Island, we have the chicken man. Logan Cambron first snagged headlines for his efforts to reduce speed in his Point Comfort neighborhood, armed with a radar gun and a sign telling people to “Slow the Cluck Down.”

His legend only grew from there, attending Hilton Head Island Town Council meetings to raise awareness for his neighborhood’s traffic woes, decked out in a suit and chicken mask and being fined for illegal gator wrangling (kind of). We grabbed a spot at the speed trap to visit with Cambron’s flock of 15 feathered friends and find out what makes him tick. Or cluck.

Barry Kaufman: So, the suit isn’t just a gag—you almost lost a chicken to speeders.
Logan Cambron: We had a big white leghorn just like my costume, and she had more personality than any of the rest; she snuck across the street and got hit by a truck. One of the neighbors called me and said, “Your chicken got hit,” so I ran downstairs and grabbed her. She was still alive. We actually nursed her back to health in the tub in our master bathroom, which was all kinds of fun. She healed back kind of funny—her butt was kind of crooked, so she laid long eggs. She lived for another year after that, but it helped give me the idea for the suit … and it gave me some more skin in the game.

BK: So how did you make the leap from wanting to slow down traffic to putting on a chicken suit?
LC: I grew up around the corner on Kingbird Lane, and when someone would speed down there, one of the fathers would go out and yell at them and people would want to start fistfights with him. So, people coming through here from out of town are already aggravated because they’re lost. I had the chicken suit because my roommate had a polar bear suit…

BK: What? Was this like a bit?
LC: No, it was just going out doing weird things in suits. The first time the chicken suit came out was when it snowed. He had the polar bear suit and I had the chicken suit, and we took the motorcycles out and we were drifting in the snow, doing doughnuts and just having a ball. We had a bunch of boogie boards and got towed behind a Jeep. The suits kept us warm, and I blended in—this is like camo.

BK: You’re like an Arctic chicken.
LC: Exactly.

BK: So, it was a defensive thing. No one wants to fight a guy in a chicken suit.
LC: No one wants to get their butt kicked by a six-foot chicken. It fluffs me up a little bit, too. I look a little bigger.

BK: Well, have you seen Family Guy?
LC: I’m still trying to figure out the social media thing. I tried calling out Seth McFarland—Peter Griffin vs. Chicken Man: loser has to pay for the speed bumps.

(Note: For those who are lost at this point, there’s a running gag on the show Family Guy where Seth McFarland’s character Peter Griffin fights a giant chicken.)

BK: You got a lot of attention for the suit; was the notoriety part of the plan?
LC: I brought it up with one of the neighbors, getting it fixed. They said they’ve been trying to get that fixed for 30 years down here and the town has been blowing them off the whole time. So, I said, “Alright, I’ll take a crack at it. I’ll have to do something ridiculous to make it go viral and put pressure on them to make them do it.”
They voted me in as vice president of the POA, which I didn’t expect to happen. Everyone’s like, “Yeah, you’re going to get it taken care of, whatever.” And I started doing the chicken thing and it started working. A lot more people started getting behind me. We definitely had a few people who were against it, saying it was going to bring down their property values and all that kind of stuff.

BK: Really? They’re against speedbumps?
LC: I’m against speedbumps. I lived in Chinaberry for a year and a half and hated it just because of the speedbumps. We don’t want to have to put them in, but we’d rather not lose a kid. When I grew up, I had my bicycle, and I was all over the island. Because of the speeders, we have people who won’t let their kid play in the front yard, which is just pathetic.

BK: So how did you wind up taking it up with town council?
LC: We finally got past the town traffic engineer; he was our first step in all of this. When we first started all of this, we went to the town and they said go to the state. So, we went to the state and they said go to the town. And we just got stuck in this bureaucratic feedback loop that’s been going on for 30 years. The town traffic engineer, for whatever reason, didn’t believe we had a problem around here, which frustrated me more than anything because he lives right around the corner in a neighborhood that’s 20 mph with a bunch of speedbumps.
When the town traffic engineer wouldn’t help us, we started making homemade signs, and he called SCDOT and had them come take our signs down. That got me more peeved than anything…

The guys on town council were super sympathetic. They listened to a bunch of the neighbors tell stories about not wanting kids to play in the yard or having to walk them three houses down because they’re so scared.

BK: What was the reaction when you walked in with the mask?
LC: I wore the head just when the POA president was talking. Even just the head is stupid hot. It’s rubber. It’s keeping all the heat in. But I had a suit and the chicken head, so I kept it classy. It was like Chicken Man goes to Washington.

BK: One thing we haven’t talked about was your latest brush with the headlines. What happened with the gator?
LC: Oh, this year’s gator?

BK: There have been previous gators?
LC: Last year’s gator was the 10-footer. I got fined $100 for moving an alligator without a permit. This year, I was driving through Bluffton and there was a three- to four-footer in the median of 278 that looked like it was getting ready to walk out into the road. I pulled over to check on it, with no intentions of touching it whatsoever, and it was dead. I called the guy from DNR who’d given me the fine last year before I even touched it, and he didn’t answer the phone. So, I told him I’d put it in my freezer and he could come get it, picked it up and put it in my van.

They showed up and gave me a $1,000 ticket for possessing an alligator.

BK: At any point were you thinking, “Haven’t I already been fined for this?”
LC: That was a live one, and this one was obviously dead. I’m not going to cause it to be any more dead. If I was the guy that would have to come pick it up, I would much rather pick it up from somebody’s freezer than cooked down on the side of the road all day. They didn’t see it that way.

BK: You had good intentions.
LC: Good intentions, always. Good decisions, not so much. My parents raised me to help wherever I see the opportunity. Unfortunately, that gets me in trouble sometimes.

BK: Speaking of trying to help, you’re on Marine Rescue Squadron. Any stories there?
LC: I got a call about a month ago at 5:30 in the morning for a nonverbal missing autistic child who had broken out of the house. His thing was water, and they figured out that he’d wandered down to the beach. They found his bike at Sea Pines Beach Club but couldn’t find him.

That’s when I got called. I’ve had a ton where, five minutes later, they’re calling saying it’s already good. So, I sat in bed for a second, but thought this one feels different. So, I hopped in the boat and the first guy I saw was right at South Beach. I asked if he was alright and he just kind of grunted. So, I was like, “That sounds like nonverbal communication; I’m pretty sure you’re who I’m looking for.” He’d drifted almost a mile and a half. Luckily, he was getting sucked into Calibogue Sound and it was dawn rather than dusk, but he was at the sharkiest place you can be at the worst time to be there.

I’ve been talking with his mom now, and I have plans to go surprise him. His thing is water and he has a pond at home he hangs out in. My wife got into this mermaid tail thing, so I got one and I plan on going up there, putting on the mermaid tail and surprising him in his pond.

Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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