June 21, 2018
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Redneck Blank gives Olympics a run for the money

By Tony Reaves, Sun Journal

HEBRON, Maine — A ranch in Hebron turned into a sea of ATVs, sunburns and cans of Bud Light this weekend for the second annual Redneck gathering.

While this year’s events may not have rivaled the Olympics in London, it was a much bigger affair than last year’s Redneck Olympics, with amphitheater seating to watch the events and a crew from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on the premises to capture locals competing.

The crowd, especially at the beginning of the event, was far larger than last month’s Redneck Rodeo, another production by organizer Harold Brooks that failed to draw as many as this weekend’s Redneck Blank. Over time, the hot sun drove many under tents and to an area where several people were doing tire burnouts in their cars.

The events were bigger. The greased watermelon haul consisted of lugging two watermelons at once, jogging through the sand in diving flippers. The tug of war was over a mud pit, the losing team dragged into the water.

The wife-carrying contest took athletes over sand berms and through the mud. The winners, Ethan Gladish and Leah Dewitt of Auburn, won by landslide. Dewitt said they didn’t compete last year and had never entered a wife-carrying contest. “I guess we’re just that awesome,” Dewitt said, laughing.

A crew from “The Daily Show,” including correspondent Jason Jones, rushed over to Gladish and Dewitt after the victory. She said they shot their interview twice, once after being told to “amp it up.”

One competitor, Allen Westberry of Norway, may have been the Redneck Michael Phelps, collecting gold medals in tug of war, the greased watermelon haul and bobbing for pigs’ feet. It was Westberry’s second year. Last year, his only gold medal was in the tug of war.

Westberry said he didn’t take the games too seriously.

“It’s just good fun,” he said.

Jeff St. Amand of L-A Music Factory was master of ceremonies again this year. He joked about the relative informality of the event, while wearing a fake mullet and a cutoff shirt.

“Hey, there’s no drinking anywhere,” he told a group in the bleachers at one point. “Just kidding.”

The event was set to continue Sunday with more live music. Brooks said he won’t count tickets until Monday. He said he didn’t want to get stressed about numbers, but he thought the event looked more crowded than last year.

Brooks and others wore a shirt that poked fun at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s threat to sue him if he continued to use the word “Olympics.”
The shirts were similar to last year’s, but with a big “X” over the word “Olympics” and the word “Blank” written smaller.

“The Daily Show,” which filmed every event and the awards ceremony, is set to air coverage of the games Thursday.

To see more from the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

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