DUBLIN, Ga. -- Spittin' a watermelon seed more than 39 feet ain't easy. But Barbara Braswell of Wrights-ville, Ga., had not come this far, all the way to the fifth annual Redneck Games, not to give it her best shot. She shucked her floppy chicken hat, reared back and let fly.
Alas, she didn't come close to the expertly expectorated seed launched by her rival, 14-year-old Eric Smith.
"The secret's curling your tongue like a funnel and blowing," explained Eric after proudly accepting his Budweiser-can-topped trophy. It was sweet vengeance for the young man, said Mac Davis, general manager of Y-96 radio station, sponsor of the 2000 Redneck Games.
"He got beat by a girl last year," Davis said.
That was just one of the dramatic Olympic-style moments at this year's Redneck Games, an annual midsummer gathering inspired by the arrival of the Olympic Games in nearby Atlanta back in 1996.
Those first Games drew about 3,000 people. But at last weekend's edition, at Buckeye Park on the banks of the Oconee River in East Dublin, Ga., an estimated 8,000 athletes and fans braved the Middle Georgia heat to go for beer-can trophies in events such as the hubcap hurl, the Dumpster dive and bug-zapper spitball.
The seed-spitting contest warmed up the crowd for the armpit serenade competition. One contestant, Blake Nimmons, 12, of Soperton, Ga., furiously pumped his arm to squeeze out a crowd-pleasing rendition of "Dixie."
But the trophy went to contestant J. W. Young, who added a bagpipe-style twist to his presentation, blowing air into his armpit through a straw while pumping away.
Would-be Redneck Games champs came in all shapes and sizes. Still dripping from a cooling plunge in the Oconee River, second-grader Brandon Denton checked to ensure that his painted-on "Little Redneck" hadn't washed off.
"He's hoping to get in the mud-pit belly-flop contest," said his mother, Sherryell Denton.
Rick Hunter rode his motorcycle five hours from DeLand, Fla., to be there.
"I'm looking for a woman bobbing for pig's feet," he said, describing another of the Games' signature events. "I've never seen a woman with a pig's foot in her mouth except my mother, and she was eating it."
Throughout the day, festival-
goers were entertained by live
music by various local groups, including the Southern Touch Band, arts and crafts, barbecue, watermelon and boiled peanuts.
Randy "L-bow" Tidwell, wearing a T-shirt with his picture on it and "Genuine Redneck" printed across the top, officially opened the Games. Tidwell, self-described as Middle Georgia's "best-known redneck," opened the festivities by lighting a beer-can torch. A six-mile homemade raft race down the Oconee got the events started, and things ended with fireworks in the evening.
"It's good family fun," said Sherryell Denton. "Southerners have the unique ability to laugh at themselves. That's what this is all about."
Then she had to excuse herself.
"I'm waiting to bob for pig's feet," she said.