Redneck Games are a good ol' time
Peter Schrager / FOXSports.com
Jessica Simpson is starring as Daisy Duke in the upcoming Dukes of Hazzard movie, Larry the Cable Guy is "Getting 'Er Done" on a nationwide tour, and Bo Bice is ... well ... doing whatever it is that Bo Bice does.
NASCAR's dominating the Sunday afternoon TV ratings, country music is spreading its wings into new markets, and the Waffle House is — as always — serving superb breakfast food 24 hours a day. Yes, the South sure is doing well these days. So well that there's reason to celebrate.
And nothing says "celebration" quite like tossing a hubcap.
Saturday, the 10th annual Redneck Games will be held in East Dublin, Ga. What started off in 1996 as a goofy radio station promotion has evolved into a nationwide phenomenon. Redneck Games creator Mac Davis explains, "Back in 1996, Atlanta was going to host the Olympics and a lot of jokes were being made about a bunch of rednecks hosting the Olympics. So I figured, if that's what people expect, let's give it to them!"
As legend tells it, the gang over at WQZY, East Dublin's rock-n-roll/country FM station, put together a ridiculous schedule of "Redneck Games" for locals to compete in. They expected a small turnout, some decent weather, and a few laughs.
What they got was a little slice of Dixie magic. "The first year," Davis reminisces, "we expected 500 people to show up. We got 5,000 instead."
Jeff Kidd is WQZY's program director. He fondly recalls the first Redneck Games as well, "We held it in the pit of a racetrack. It was dusty, dirty and small. It hadn't rained in weeks, so it was extremely hot and dry. We went on with it anyway; just a group of people having a great time."
Since then, the Redneck Games have expanded into an annual major event. Davis expects that 15,000 people will show up this year and estimates that over the last decade, roughly 95,000 individuals have attended the one-day extravaganza. And in his 10 years manning the event, he's seen it all, stating, "Nothing surprises me now."
What are some of the sports featured at the Redneck Games? How about the Mudpit Belly Flop? Or the Armpit Serenade? And then there's the self-explanatory Butt Crack Competition.
While the 1996 Atlanta Games featured the long jump, the Redneck Games featured the Mudpit Belly Flop. (Nick Oza / Associated Press)
There's also the Hubcap Hurl, the Bobbin' for Pig's Feet Fest, and Redneck Horseshoes — in which toilet seats are the objects thrown. Each individual event has its own legion of fans, roster of popular competitors, and history filled with tradition. People still talk about the 12-year-old boy who played the Southern ode "Dixie" with his underarm and palm back in 2000, everyone recognizes that Melvin Davis is the Babe Ruth of Bobbin' For Pigs' Feet, and it's common knowledge that the Games don't begin until L'Bow lights the Ceremonial Grill. Like SEC football or hating Jeff Gordon, the Redneck Games, too, have become a favorite pastime for Southern sports fans.
Over the years, the Games have become a bit of a media darling as well. Like Dakota Fanning or Fruit Rollups, everyone seems to love them. The press coverage has been international. Davis lists the placements like he's Lizzie Grubman: "Good Morning America, Life, Maxim, MTV Road Rules/Real World Challenge, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, and FOX. The list goes on and on."
Even celebrities have gotten into the fold. Each year, the organizers line up live entertainment and big names from all walks of life to participate in the events. Last July, Miss Belgium showed up. A surprise guest will be attending Saturday's event. Who he/she may be is anybody's guess. My money's on Simpson — hopefully dressed in the exact same thing she sports in that These Boots Are Made For Walkin' video. Then again, it could just as well be Al Roker or that Ty Pennington guy from ABC's Extreme Home Makeover. Regardless of who ends up coming, though, he/she will most certainly have an entertaining day in East Dublin.
For all the media attention the event's received over the past few years, one would assume that Davis is a multi-millionaire by now. Wrong. All profit — every last cent — from the Redneck Games goes to local charities. Davis explains, "We work with the East Dublin Lions Club and look to place the money in areas that need the most help." In essence, it's like a grandiose bake sale — only with butt cracks and hubcaps instead of brownies and pie. Kidd adds, "We don't make a dime. Never have. Never will. That's not what it's about."
All in all, the Redneck Games are just a silly, good time. Though it's gradually expanded in attendance and in popularity over the past decade, the yearly tradition is still as wholesome and pure as it was back in '96. Everyone and their butt crack is welcome — even you damn Yankees.
Would a New Yorker or Boston native enjoy the event? You betcha. As Davis says, "Anyone can have fun ... because we all have a little redneck in us."