April 15, 2024 | Sammy Tran

The Redneck Games of Atlanta, Georgia


The Redneck Games

Georgia’s Summer Redneck Games—which includes seed spitting and bobbing for pig’s feet—started as a joke but quickly became one of the biggest annual events in the area.

There was a short hiatus for a few years, but in 2023 they made a comeback, and it was nothing short of amazing.

redneck games split image

Where & When

The Summer Redneck Games are held annually in East Dublin, Georgia, usually in July.

Entrance of East Dublin, Georgia with city limit sign in frontMichael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Family-Friendly

The Redneck Games are a, inclusive family-friendly event, welcoming people of all ages. There are even junior and youth prizes available for children who wish to participate in the games.

People standing around Mud Pit at the Redneck Summer GamesMichael Lusk, Flickr

The Redneck Reputation

Depending on what region of the United States you come from, the term “redneck” is either an insult or a badge of honor. But everyone at this event is friendly, welcoming, and inclusive.

People at the Redneck Summer Games in East Dublin, GeorgiaMichael Lusk, Flickr

History

The games started in 1996 as a joke in response to media comments after Atlanta won the bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games. Some people said the event would be organized by a group of rednecks—so that’s what they did.

1996 Atlanta Olympics, Olympic flag at track and field venueContent Providers, Wikimedia Commons

The First Year

Organizers were expecting a small turnout of about 500 visitors at most, but word got out and more than 5,000 people showed up.

redneck games split imageSummer Redneck Games

Making It an Annual Event

After the surprising outpour of support, and the immense amount of fun, visitors wanted it to become an annual event. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have attended.

FestivalSummer Redneck Games

Charity

The games may have started off as a joke, but the proceeds always went to children’s needs. All proceeds from the games are donated to local East Dublin charities like the East Dublin Lions Club.

The city Hall in East Dublin, Laurens County, GeorgiaMichael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Admission

Admission to the Summer Redneck Games is only $5 per car load—making it an affordable event for all to enjoy.

redneck games split imageErik S. Lesser, Getty Images

The Event

So, what exactly goes on at these Redneck Games? It’s everything you’d expect at a redneck party, but with an organized Olympic flare, including a torch-bearer, known athletes, trophies and champions.

Two women covered in mud wrestlingkaelin.severin, Flickr

The Torch-Bearer

The Summer Redneck Games are kicked off with the official torch-bearer—a local who goes by the name L-Bow and is the personification of this event, who lights a grill using the redneck torch, to signify the beginning of the games.

L'Bow at the redneck games in East Dublin GAJoe Sepielli, Flickr

The Torch

L-Bow leads the parade of athletes with a propane torch decorated with aluminum from a 6 pack of Budweiser.

Mascot Preston Wright lights the ceremonial torch to kick off the 13th Annual Summer Redneck GamesStephen Morton, Getty Images

The Events

The Summer Redneck Games features a variety of ridiculous yet hilarious events that reinforce the media’s redneck stereotype. Anyone can participate.

Close-up Photo of Vehicle driving in mudReneboiten, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Snacks

Food and drink at the festival are also mostly redneck themed, and include: corndogs, fluffy fries, elephant ears, and alligator kebabs—which are considered a delicacy.

festival foodSummer Redneck Games

The Dress Code

There is no specific dress code, but most participants dress in white tank tops, overalls, bikinis, or no shirt at all. By the end of the day, most are covered in mud.

Photo of three girls covered in mud sitting on the groundcarina, Flickr

The Grounds

The Redneck Games are held in Buckeye Park, which includes a big open sand pit—perfect for making mud—and visitors bring their ATVs and trucks ready for mud bogging.

Close-up Photo of a truck covered in mud in a mud bogChapendra, Flickr

Common Sights

You’ll often see truck beds made into pools, picnic tables on flatbeds pulled behind trucks, and various tent set-ups lining the festival.

truck bed poolSummer Redneck Games

Car Shows

Various classic cars are on display for car enthusiasts—but this also includes intriguing redneck vehicles that have been modified to suit the driver’s needs, and taste.

Crazy 1983-85 Ford EXP Mud truckDaniel Hatton, Flickr

The Redneck Limo

Visitors can ride the redneck limo—a farm tractor that pulls people around the grounds.

Fans arrive at the Seventh Annual Summer Redneck Games July 6, 2002 in East Dublin, GeorgiaErik S. Lesser, Getty Images

The Medals

The main attraction at the games are the competitive events. The redneck champion of each event is awarded a very unique trophy—a half crushed empty mounted brew can.

Trophies are displayed that will be awarded 07 July 2007 during the 2007 Redneck Games in East Dublin, Georgia.ROBERT SULLIVAN, Getty Images

The Smoke Flip

Contestants battle to see who can flip their smoke butts the highest and farthest.

Photo of Girls on the Redneck GamesTom Hagerty, Flickr

The Hubcap Hurl

Exactly as it sounds, contestants see how far they can hurl a hubcap. The farthest hurl wins.

Close-up Photo of old hubcapRachel James, Flickr

Bobbin’ for Pig’s Feet

Contestants dive their faces into plastic storage tubs of water to try and grab raw pig’s feet with their mouths. Whoever can get all 7-8 pigs feet out the fastest, wins.

Bobbing for pigs feetSummer Redneck Games

Redneck Horseshoes

Similar to regular horseshoes, except people use toilet seats instead of contemporary horseshoes.

Eric Outler, last years winner in the Stephen Morton, Getty Images

Armpit Serenades

Contestants serenade the crowd with tunes made from the fart sounds they can make using their armpits.

Arm pit serenade winner Aubrey Matthews performs his best song during the 13th Annual Summer Redneck Games July 11, 2009 in East Dublin, Georgia.Stephen Morton, Getty Images

Armpit Serenades: 1998

In 1998, one contestant serenaded the crowd with the entire theme of the television show Green Acres.

Brian Simpson takes part in the Armpit Serenade contest during the 14th Annual Summer Redneck Games July 10, 2010 in East Dublin, Georgia.Stephen Morton, Getty Images

Mud Pit Belly Flop Contest

The mud pit belly flop contest is one of the most popular events, where people compete to see who can perform the best belly flop into a massive mud pit.

belly flopSummer Redneck Games

Big Hair Contest

A contest to see who has the biggest hairstyles. Contestants plan for this in advance and show up with their hair big and ready to win.

Close-up Photo of a man with long hairJudy Baxter, Flickr

Seed Spitting Contest

Contestants use watermelon seeds to see who can spit them the farthest. There are also various watermelon tossing contests, too.

festivalSummer Redneck Games

Mullet Competition

Contestants show off their mullets, and the audience votes on the best one.

MulletSummer Redneck Games

Bug Zapping by Spitball

Contestants spit bugs and spitballs into bug zappers—the person with the best aim wins.

festivalSummer Redneck Games

Dumpster Diving

A dumpster is set up, filled with newspapers, paper cups, and other various pieces of trash. Contestants dive in and have to search for a specific item.

One year, the item to find was a gift certificate for a trip to the Bahamas.

Photo of a person in a blue DumpsterBjørn Bulthuis, Flickr

Other Games

Other festival-like games include rubber tire hopscotch, cornhole, guessing games, drinking games, and obstacle courses.

festivalSummer Redneck Games

Drinking

Aside from the Redneck themed games, the most popular thing that happens at this event is the drinking. There is no shortage of brew, and people come equipped with plenty of coolers to haul their stock pile around with them.

festivalSummer Redneck Games

The River

The nearby Oconee River is where people go to wash off the mud and take a break from the hot summer heat. You’ll often see people floating their coolers and having chicken fights.

River swimmingSummer Redneck Games

Closing Ceremonies

At the end of the day, a firetruck drives through the crowd with L-Bow riding atop with the torch held high. Fireworks fill the air and the crowd goes wild celebrating a successful event.

Redneck Olympics-Dublin, GeorgiaMartin Prochnik, Flickr

A Televised Event

Reporters and photographers from all over the country attend the event each year.

The games have received coverage from Good Morning America, Life, Maxim, MTV Road Rules/Real World Challenge, The Tonight Show, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, and Fox.

ABC News reporter, Naomi Woodley, waiting to do a live reportBidgee, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

Other Cities Have Followed

With the success of Atlanta’s Redneck Games, other areas have followed suit and Redneck festivals are becoming a thing. Places like Florida, Maine, and Saskatchewan have all started similar Redneck Festivals.

Sign of the Redneck Olympics held in MaineMike Mozart, Flickr

Controversy

The Redneck Games in Georgia went on for 16 years with no issues. Participants were always known to be friendly and peaceful.

But in 2012, they turned into a mix of excessive drinking and trouble.

People standing around Mud PitChris Beckett, Flickr

The End of the Games

At this point, organizers were pressured to cancel the event. In fact, the festival’s lead organizer, Randy Tidwell—also known as L-Bow—decided himself to get clean and take things in a new direction.

Official Redneck Game Mascot Randy Stephen Morton, Getty Images

Redneckin’ 4 Jesus

After years of getting clean, Tidwell decided to reopen the Redneck Games in 2023, but with a new faith-based focus, changing its name to: Redneckin’ 4 Jesus.

Big cross with Jesus is coming soon quote on it at the '07 Redneck OlympicsJason Drakeford, Flickr

The New Event

The new Redneck festival still keeps some old traditions, like the redneck competitions, but has made it a booze-free event, and a free event—with donations and proceeds from sponsorships going toward a church youth fund.

Person throwing a toilet seat at the Redneck GamesSteve Thornton, Flickr

Sources: 1, 2


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