EAST DUBLIN, Ga. — Organizers of the Redneck Games, a festival that includes competitions such as toilet seat horseshoes and mud pit belly flops, say this summer’s event is being canceled.
The local Lions Club voted not to hold the event because of the economy, lower attendance and sponsors backing out, East Dublin City Administrator Larry Drew said.
“It’s been good for us, but the last few years it’s been going down,” Drew, who is also the Lions Club treasurer, told the Courier Herald of Dublin. “We decided to take a break and see what happens next year.”
The Redneck Games, which began in 1996 as a response to Atlanta’s Summer Olympics, has drawn visitors from as far as Europe, Asia and Australia.
The site of the games, Buckeye Park, is under scrutiny from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Agency officials said the nearby creek and Oconee River could be contaminated by bacteria draining from a restroom at the park, the Macon Telegraph reported.
The city signed a consent order with the agency last month, agreeing to conduct regular fecal coliform testing and to pay a $10,000 fine for environmental violations related to management of the park over the last five years.
Drew said the decision to cancel the games after 17 years was unrelated to contamination concerns. City officials also dispute the EPD’s view of the situation.
“We responded to everything (EPD) ever gave us, but we didn’t agree with what they wanted us to do,” he said.
City officials think the high bacteria levels were caused by an animal rather than the restroom, Drew told the Telegraph. He said the restroom isn’t open during the Redneck Games, when portable toilets are used instead.
The Lions Club will revisit holding the games in 2014 if organizers get enough responses, Drew said.
“If we get a lot of calls, we’ll probably start it back next year,” he said. “It’s just according to if people are interested.”