ARLINGTON - It appeared to be a normal Friday afternoon at the National. Collectors were filling checklists, the autograph pavilion had long lines and the Donruss booth was 5-10 deep for its popular wrapper redemptions. But when Donruss officials roped off its booth at 1 p.m., the crowds began to gather and wonder what the company had up its sleeve. It soon became evident this was not your typical Friday when former WWE diva and Dancin' with the Stars finalist, Stacy Keibler, walked through the doors and headed to the Donruss booth.
Keibler was on-hand to help Donruss make the announcement of the show, that Donruss was producing a celebrity set called Donruss Studio Americana.
"When we introduced the hobby to this concept with the Fans of the Game insert, we knew we were onto something," Donruss Brand Manager Ben Ecklar said. "So many of the celebrities liked the concept and we talk to collectors at every show about how they are chasing the entire set. It made sense for us to make it a stand alone product."
Keibler spent two hours signing free autographs on specially made Donruss Studio Americana promo cards. Along with her card, Donruss handed out cards of Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, Cedric The Entertainer and Wayne Newton, each of whom have already signed and returned autographs for the program.
"I'm very flattered and genuinely happy that I was asked to be a part of this set," said Stacy Keibler. "I feel honored to be in a category with these other celebrities and people from history that are part of this set."
Donruss brought some of the top celebrities to the hobby with the Fans of the Game insert. Names such as John Travolta, Tony Hawk, Ray Romano, Charlie Sheen, Freddie Adu, Dennis Leary, Michael Phelps and James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) signed for the set.
"Stacy really brings a diverse background," Ecklar said. "As a former cheerleader and wrestler, she's got the sports angle. She's got the TV angle covered and she has a movie coming out this fall. And that's kind of what we're doing with Donruss American. It's going to be a great program and this is a great kickoff."
Donruss will be releasing more names and images over the coming months, sure to wet collectors' appetites. Donruss Studio Americana will release in November.