The crazy crew at the East Dublin, GA, rock-N-roll/country music station Y-96 decided they needed to do something special in 1996. It wasn't just because they came in at 96 on the FM dial; no, it was also the year of the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. So the braintrust came up with a plan. 'The media kept saying that the Olympics were going to be run by a bunch of rednecks who didn't know what they were doing,' says Mac Davis, one of Y-96's afternoon DJs. 'So we figured if that's what the world expects, we'll give it to them.' So the boys got together and came up with a schedule of events that would become the Summer Redneck Games to be held every July.
These events include the cigarette flip, the mudpit belly flop, bobbing for pigs feet, the big hair contest, the hubcap hurl, the seed spitting contest, bug zapper spitball, dumpster diving, and everyone's favorite, the armpit serenade. 'That's when you cup your hand under your armpit and make farting noises,' Davis says. 'But people down here have taken it a step further and can play tunes.' In 1998 one contestant pumped out the entire theme to the television show 'Green Acres.' Only 500 were expected to show up that year, but when 5,000 curious folk overtook this 2,000-person town, they knew they had a hit. In its short existence, the Summer Redneck Games have been featured in the national media on 'Fox Files,' 'Good Morning America,' 'The Maury Povich Show,' and MTV's 'The Real World.'
A fixture at this annual event is a fellow by the name of L-Bow, a local asphalt technician who doesn't have any teeth. In his soiled bib-overalls, smelly T-shirt, and ragged old shoes, L-Bow is the perfect mascot for the Summer Redneck Games, which means he's the official torch-bearer. Of this honor, he sheepishly admits, 'I got the big kiss and swole all up with pride.' With a propane torch adorned with the aluminum from a 6-pack of Budweiser, L-Bow parades the athletes into the arena (a field) and lights the Ceremonial BBQ Grill. 'Let the gas begin!' he hollers. Why do they call him L-Bow? 'You see, every redneck has a nickname. And I make this ol' ugly face, putting my bottom lip up over my nose. One day when I was doing it, this ol' boy said, 'You just plain ugly from your elbow down to your ass. You don't look like the same person.' Well I said, 'You sure ain't going to call me ass, so I'll just take elbow.' And from that day on it stuck.'
The event has raised some controversy over the years. Some locals have come forward saying they think the term is derogatory. Even some of the 'wine and cheese crowd' have come forward, believing the event is degrading. 'You know what,' L-Bow says, 'Everybody has a little bit of redneck in them. A redneck is anyone who works hard for every penny they get. It's the one time a year hard-working country folk in these parts can be proud of who they are and have a little fun.' But don't think L-Bow is getting sentimental. 'I got my own little creed about rednecks,' he says. 'We work hard, we play hard, and we die broke.' Gentlemen...put on your beer goggles and start your riding lawn mowers. Admission is $5 per carload, so pack 'em in.
The above article is just one of a collection of off-beat articles on 2Camels from Nelson Taylor's wonderful America Bizarro.
America Bizarro is a unique travel guide that celebrates humorously interesting, pop-culture kitschy and off-the-map odd festivals, out-of-the-way gatherings, kooky conventions, conferences and contests throughout the United States.