The crowd thickened and many sought shade under the few trees around the edges of an open field at the Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam on Saturday.
Many had been there for hours, some resting on hay bales, some waving to children on carnival rides, and others wandering around looking for beer, friends or to check out vendors’ wares.
It all led up to one moment: the opening of the Redneck Olympics.
About mid-afternoon, a man clad only in denim overalls walked to the stage carrying a torch made of sawed-off beer cans and a propane torch. From the loudspeakers blared the voice of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, describing his vision of what would happen at the 1996 Olympics in Georgia. The scenario he described would play out on the field as the day progressed. Though there were no doves to let loose – and consequently no one shooting them from the parking lot – gunshots did ring out as Civil War re-enactors surprised the crowd with musket fire.
The first event featured about a dozen children passing the microphone to see who could best call a pig. The medal went to a tiny boy named Atticus for his shrill “suwee.”
Other contests included the loudest belch and mud wrestling.
Shelby Steinmeyer and Alyssa Elkins, both 16, wanted to participate in the mud wrestling but forgot to bring a change of clothes.
“We like country things,” said Steinmeyer, who added that the whole concept of a redneck event appealed to both of them.
“It’s like a good old-timey type thing,” Elkins said.
In the children’s area, Jennifer Mims snapped pictures of her husband, James, and granddaughter, Kaelyn Mims, 1, as they rode the Turbo Tubs, similar to teacup rides at state fairs.
Though gates opened at 10 a.m., there wasn’t a lot going on for adults until the games kicked off about 3 p.m. James Mims said he would have liked to see more activities early on.
Paulette Ward said she was enjoying the event with her husband, Carl, and daughter Dorothy, but they also would have liked to see more activities before the games began.
“I kind of think they need to start things a little earlier,” she said.