EAST DUBLIN -- Captain Redneck ruled the annual Redneck Games on Saturday with a beer in hand and Confederate flag tied around his head. His cape -- the Georgia state flag -- bristled in the warm Middle Georgia breeze.
The self-proclaimed super-hero, Elliot Campbell, traveled from Statesboro with more than a dozen friends and fellow Georgia Southern students.
It was his first time at the annual event, which has continued to draw international attention since its launch in conjunction with the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games, but Campbell said he wanted to make an impact.
“I just want to get people enthused to be out here, be patriotic and just have a good time” he said.
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Campbell did just that, drawing cheers from the crowd and even signing autographs for a few.
However, about halfway through the afternoon event, the captain’s weakness -- bobbing for pigs feet -- was exposed.
“It took me four tries to grab one and once I did I realized you had to grab the toe,” he said. “That’s the trick.”
Campbell’s opponent, Scott McCarty, dominated the competition, throwing the raw pigs feet from his bucket faster than all the rest.
Saturday was also McCarty’s first time at the Redneck Games. His son’s, Mitchel and Mason, heard about the festival and wanted to come, so the three of them drove down from South Carolina just for the event.
Locals made their presence known, too, as Hunter Beall, of East Dublin, blew the competition away in the watermelon seed-spitting contest.
Beall, who has attended the annual event since the first year, said he had been practicing since mid-June when watermelon season began in south Georgia.
“I came in second (place) two years ago. I said this year I was going to leave with the Bud Light trophy,” he said holding the prize topped with a crushed beer can. “I brought a big crowd to come out and represent for my people. This is my home and this is my country. The redneck nation means a lot to me.”
Rob and Rowni Sprague, who had a redneck wedding by getting hitched at the games in 2008, kicked off the main event, holding hands as they dove into the red clay mudpit.
The Warner Robins couple comes back each year just to jump in the mud, Rowni Sprague said.
“It’s good times and good people. I love it,” said Rob Sprague.
The annual games are more than just a reason to drink beer and jump in a mud pit, said Dale Watson a member of the East Dublin Lions Club, which uses proceeds to donate to local charities.
Watson said this year’s attendance was good, but down a bit from years past.
“These rednecks are getting old,” he said. “We’re just trying to raise as much money for the young all over the county.”
Melvin Davis, the announcer for the festival, said that although some people don’t consider “redneck” to be a term of endearment, it is a positive thing.
“We have fun. We enjoy life. We don’t care about money or what anybody thinks,” he said. “This is our family reunion.”
To contact writer Caryn Grant, call 744-4347.