Forget Rio, rednecks hold their own Olympics every year

You can win medals for muddy tug-of-war and toilet seat horseshoe


As the world prepares for the Olympics to begin in Rio, Harold Brooks of Hebron, Maine, organized a different kind of competition. He’s in charge of planning for the muddiest weekend of the year: the Redneck Blank, Pig Roast and Music Festival.

Victoria Purcell, a six-year veteran of the event from Buckfield, Maine, said: “Harold never disappoints.”

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For the sixth year in a row, the event – which was formerly known as the Redneck Olympics before the U.S. Olympic Committee threatened to sue – drew thousands of participants and spectators who camp out in tents or campers throughout the weekend on Harold’s 210-acre farm. Attendees were encouraged to bring their four wheelers, golf carts and trucks to get around.

“The average redneck couldn’t afford to go to the Olympics,” Harold said in an interview.  That’s why he created a much cheaper version at his home 35 miles away from Portland, Maine.

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“It’s a bunch of people you’ve never met just hanging out and having a great time,” said five-time attendee Tanner Swan of Oxford, Maine. “Every year there’s always just a little more than the year before. More people, more bands, even sometimes more events.”

This year, participants could earn medals in eight sports throughout the weekend, including the classic muddy tug-of-war and the more unique sports like the greased watermelon haul and toilet seat horseshoes. Medals were also awarded for successfully bobbing for pigs’ feet.

Six-time attendee Victoria Purcell.

Six-time attendee Victoria Purcell.

It’s not just the competition drawing people to the weekend-long event, though. Almost a dozen bands performed starting Thursday night, and a giant bonfire and pig roast were the main attraction Saturday night. Well, maybe not the main one. A “very wet” t-shirt contest with cash prizes was held that same night.

The free Mud Runs are another big attraction at the Redneck Blank. Attendees can either try to drive their own trucks through the mud pits or cheer on others who attempt to do so

“Undoubtedly, my favorite thing is the Mud Runs,” said Victoria. “Good ol’ fashioned fun getting covered head to toe in mud.”

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Victoria’s son and stepdaughter after watching the Mud Runs.

While the term “redneck” remains an insult for the majority of America, the people in attendance at this weekend’s event embrace it.

“It means we’re just laid back people who love their country, the outdoors and beer!” said Tanner.