Bum Philips Trophy makes stop at Energy Country Ford; family atmosphere welcomes special rivalry

Published 5:35 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

Nearly 13 years ago Energy Country Ford General Sales Manager Rob Kistner attended his first Mid County Madness game and was in shock seeing the pageantry of the state’s No. 1 rivalry. This week the dealership is able to get in on the action by hosting the highly coveted Bum Phillips Bowl trophy.

“We have quite a few people here that have graduated high school from Nederland or Port Neches,” Kistner said. “They have kids that go to the games. Our finance manager has a son that is in junior high football for Nederland. It is just an exciting thing to have around.”

Kistner still remembers the first time he witnessed the rivalry in person.

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“I have never seen a rivalry where people don’t just care about the game,” he said. “They care about the schools and the people. They care about the kids and the community. It is not a hateful rivalry. It is just bragging rights. It was extremely impressive. I tell friends and family back in South Carolina about it. I remember the adrenalin of it. I didn’t go to school here or play sports here, but you could feel the excitement from the people in the crowd when it was getting ready to start. You could just feel it.”

Hosting the trophy fits the family feel of Energy Country Ford, Kistner said.

“Energy Country Ford has been around for about 60 years,” he said. “It was originally Raiford Automotive. Our owner’s dad was the original owner. It is a family owned store and is very family oriented. We brag a lot that we are female-owned. We have a lot of repeat customers because we are a family owned store.”

The general sales manager said he is proud of the team at the dealership and believes one aspect of their service in particular separates them from the rest.

“I love our customer service,” he said. “I like that a customer can pick up a phone and get ahold of a manager or someone in charge and get a good resolution to a problem or a situation. We try to go above and beyond to help customers past the sale or service. We take care of them like they are family and make them feel like a VIP. We try to be accessible to everyone.”

Kistner said the best part of being engrained in the community is helping family members through generations.

“It almost solidifies the type of job we do when someone comes up here and says that we sold their mom a car or their sister bought one from us,” he said. “It gives you a feeling of gratification to know you are taking care of someone. Nobody is going to refer family or a friend if you are not going to do a good job taking care of them.”

Energy Country Ford is located at 4545 Twin City Highway in Port Arthur. For more information, call 409-962-8383.