People across Ohio and surrounding states made their way to Galion on Saturday to meet Leland Chapman, son of Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman.
A line formed along Harding Way East and up the alley to the rear of AA American Bail Bonds where Leland met with fans throughout the day.
“We left our home in Indiana at 3 a.m. this morning to come to see Leland,” said Kathy Mooy while standing in line to see Leland with her daughter, Jasmine.
Jasmine said Leland is drop dead gorgeous.
“And I love the show,” said Jasmine.
Leland has starred in two shows with his family, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” and “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt.”
Leland is friends with the owners of AA American Bail Bonds, Gina Powell and Ken Reynolds, who hosted the event.
“We wanted to bring people together for a fun event. There are local people here and people who drove hours to get here. I wish we had better weather, though,” said Powell, referring to the cold, damp weather on Saturday.
Powell said it is a rare occasion when a celebrity visits Galion.
“Something like this very rarely happens in Galion so I thought it would be a great event for the community,” Powell said.
Leland said he loves traveling across the country to meet with fans at bail bonds agencies.
“I absolutely love meeting with fans. I am just a regular person and was not born on television. After my dad’s role in the capture of Andrew Luster, our family was offered a great opportunity with the television shows but we are just regular people, doing our jobs that we love,” Leland said.
Leland said he enjoys his job as a bounty hunter.
“I love the thrill of the hunt. You put in a lot of hard work and it really pays off when you get the fugitive you have been searching for,” said Leland.
Leland now resides in Alabama, a move he made to challenge himself.
“I am my own worst critic. I wanted to do this job on my own so I moved to Alabama without knowing a soul. Things are working out great. It’s a beautiful state, I have a beautiful girlfriend and my work is going well,” said Leland, who recently brought in a fugitive in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that was on the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office top 10 fugitives list.
Galion native Beth McEldowney came to the event with her 17-year-old son, Nick, and her friend, Kimberly, from Marion.
“We watch the television show all the time. They are all awesome so we just had to come today to get to meet Leland. This is so awesome,” said McEldowney.
Vicki Eaton works for Powell and brought her 16-year-old son, Aaron, to the event.
“It was really great to meet Leland. He is a very nice person,” said Eaton.
Powell said there was a great turnout for the event with 850 people making their way through the line to meet Leland.
“There were people here from several towns across Ohio and as far away as Tennessee and Indiana.”
Powell said she will host another event for Leland to meet with fans in the future.
“He is such a great role model for kids and teens, many who aspire to enter into the field of law enforcement in the future,” Powell said.
Leland has some advice for local fugitives being sought by Powell and Reynolds.
“Ken and Gina are my friends and if they need me, I will be here. My best advice is to turn yourself in,” said Leland with a grin.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras