I consider myself an open-minded person. I love traveling down out-of-the-way roads, immersing myself in strange cultures, and meeting new people. This week, I even tried eggplant for the first time in my life.

But let’s say you came to me a few months ago predicting that I’d soon be whipping my mother-in-law’s ass up and down her front yard—at my wife’s suggestion—while a TV crew films the entire graphic display. It’s impossible that I would have believed you, and I might have said something like this.

“How dare you? That’s incredibly offensive. And, hey! Is that peyote you’re smoking? And are you drinking cough syrup? You totally need to get some help, man!”

Little did I know.

Of course, up until recently, I never imagined that I’d be preparing for a pack burro race in Colorado. Or that I might win a national championship in egg tossing. Or that several days later, something even crazier would happen—the media would start calling.

The first person to contact me was WRAL sports reporter Jason Jennings. I was excited, but nervous. As a writer, I’m used to controlling the stories I tell. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to relinquish that power to a TV reporter.

Plus, my last appearance on the CBS affiliate was a disaster. It was a 1998 edition of Football Friday, a weekly high school football wrap-up show. That night, the Broughton Capitals stomped my Leesville Pride. I threw four interceptions, and a WRAL cameraman was there to capture all of my pathetic bloopers. The deep voice of longtime WRAL sports anchor Tom Suiter still haunts my dreams.

“Jon Page … drops back … gonna’ be … INTERCEPTED!”

Fortunately, reporters are much more friendly when you’re a national champion—even if it’s for egg tossing. Jason was incredibly nice, and the feature he filed on Raleigh’s newly crowned egg tossing champions was equally hilarious and professional. (Although, I’m pretty sure that the champions’ wives stole the show.)

Watch the video here.

I also heard from a media relations assistant for the Hagerstown Suns, the minor league baseball team that hosts the National Egg Toss Championship. This was especially funny considering that I was calling Suns officials months ago to interview them for my blog. Back then, I had to wait a few weeks before anyone would return my call. But after winning their contest, they were calling me. Even better, the media relations assistant kept calling me, “Sir.”

Yesterday, we were featured in the print and online edition of the News & Observer in an excellent story by staff writer Mark Hensch. The N&O’s sister paper, The Myrtle Beach Sun News, even picked up the story! I haven’t even been to Myrtle Beach in years, but I now feel like I owe the good people there a visit.

And this morning, NBC 17 viewers in the Raleigh-Durham area ate their corn flakes and sipped their coffee to the site of me and morning anchor Penn Holderness running with donkeys.

Of all the interviews I did in the past two weeks, this one scared me the most. Mainly because it was my first training session with the donkeys, and also because of something Penn said to me just before the interview.

“You know we’re kind of going to make fun of you, right?”

Sure, I get that. I make fun of myself on this blog all the time. And we were, after all, standing in a pasture on my mother-in-law’s farm, getting ready to film a segment in which I’d run a leashed donkey in circles to prepare for the Idaho Springs Pack Burro Race in Colorado. This wasn’t exactly Dateline material, and I’m not exactly Lance Armstrong. Of course Penn was going to poke a little fun at me. I just didn’t know how far he might take his ridicule.

When I run in the pack burro race in Colorado, I’ll be renting a trained donkey with racing experience. The miniature Sicilian donkeys I began training with at Noah’s Landing, however, had never even been harnessed before last Friday morning, and I wasn’t even capable of catching them. Carie’s mom had to lasso the first one just so we could get him harnessed. Fortunately, Penn and his cameraman arrived a few minutes late. At least they wouldn’t experience the joy of filming my ass wrangling incompetence.

Not that it mattered. I had absolutely no control over my ass. I could smack him on the back with the lead, but he sprinted wildly, often in the direction of a mud pit or a pile of waste. My troubles were confounded as I wore a wired microphone and Penn interviewed me as I zigzagged across the pasture. Imagine trying to have a worthwhile conversation with someone while an animal jerks you around like a rag doll. Oh, and the local news is there. If actual pack burro racing is anything like what I tried that morning, I’m in deep trouble.

Somehow, I made it through the interview without diving head first into a pile of donkey chips. A few minutes later, Penn ran with his own donkey. Later, he even interviewed me standing still. I was starting to think that maybe he’d go easy on me. That maybe he was starting to get what I was all about. That this isn’t just one big joke.

After the interview, I was feeling upbeat. But as I started walking to my car, I overheard Penn whispering to his cameraman.

“Let’s call it Donkey Man,” he said.

“Penn! I totally heard that!”

He paused.

“It’s just the file name Jon. Just the file name!”

In the end, I think Penn produced a great feature.

Watch the video here.

After all my nervous anticipation, I’m proud to say that the worst thing Penn said is that I spent my Fourth of July training on my mother-in-law’s donkey farm.

Ha! I’ll have you know that even Donkey Man watched fireworks.

Many thanks to Dave Telep, National Recruiting Director for Scout.com, whose tweets of our egg-tossing prowess caught the eyes of the local media. And many thanks to the assorted members of the local media who took time away from reporting actual news to tell my story.