By David Sharp
There were no world-class athletes or top-notch sporting venues, but there was cold beer, barbecue and a muddy tug-of-war Saturday at the event formerly known as the Redneck Olympics.
The event, now officially known as the “Redneck (Blank)” after the real Olympics threatened to sue, also featured bobbing for pig’s feet, a greased watermelon haul and toilet seat horseshoes.
If that’s not redneck enough, then there was a wife-hauling contest and free mud runs for big-tired trucks.
Organizer Harold Brooks said it’s all about regular folks having fun without airs of pretentiousness.
“For me, a redneck doesn’t mean a person who’s dumb or lazy. A redneck to me means someone who can laugh at themselves. They’re a hard-working group of people who can let loose and have a good time,” he said.
On Saturday, a cacophony of loud music and roaring engines were set against a dusty backdrop in the hills of western Maine where several thousand people gathered. People paraded around in every manner of vehicle: pickups, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, go-karts — and even a snowmobile.
Many spectators watching the trucks churning across the mud course ended up covered in mud themselves.
“It’s a big, dirty party,” said Sara Miller, of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Crowds were encouraged to get into the act during the “competition,” but actual athletic skills were not a requirement. For example, one of the events called the “beer trot” featured an obstacle course that participants traversed while carrying a beer in each hand. The goal was to finish quickly — without spilling.
There were faux gold, silver and bronze medals for winners. But these aren’t Olympic events. The U.S. Olympic Committee put the kibosh on the “Redneck Olympics” name in 2011, Brooks said.
That doesn’t mean rednecks went down without a fight.
On Saturday, T-shirts were emblazoned with “Redneck Olympics” — with “Olympics” crossed out.
Brooks said his event is more fun and affordable than the real Olympic Games, which he believes has grown too big for its britches.
“The average redneck couldn’t afford to go the Olympics,” he said.