Hold the phone.
I was about to post about my Natural Heritage Hikes trip to Aroostook County – the people, the potatoes, the potatoes… the potatoes… but my creative flow was interrupted by the second most redneck thing I have ever witnessed: the Redneck Olympics in Hebron, Maine.
When we decided to go, my father and I were pretty sure it would be more of a parody – normal people and hipsters ironically pretending to be rednecks for the weekend. After all, the event was big enough to be sued by the Olympics committee for using the word “olympics” and had been covered by the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. But boy were we wrong.
The events, which took place in a giant sand pit, opened with the lighting of the Redneck Torch (two stacked burn barrels filled with fireworks) by a gentleman wearing a pig mask with the Monster Energy Drink logo tattooed on his calf. The crowd, drunk on excitement (and Bud Light) looked on from their pickup trucks, dune buggies, and 4-wheelers as the first event, toilet seat horseshoes, commenced. As a treehugger, I was pleased to hear that the toilet seats used in the horseshoe event were re-purposed from their former lives in a hotel in Auburn. Events that followed included the greased melon race (where thanks to a woman in an American flag bikini we saw more than just watermelons), the barrel roll, the wife carry (my favorite), bobbing for pig’s feet, the mud tug-o-war, and the mud flop (actually maybe that was my favorite). At the end of the events, the master of ceremonies bestowed metals upon the winners of each event. For the next several hours, I spotted those metals in the crowd, worn with pride.
After the closing ceremony, the crowd promptly resumed what (I assume) they were previously doing: riding their 4-wheelers/dune buggies/snowmobiles (yes, a snow mobile) up the walls of the giant pit with Bud Light in hand and girlfriend on back, or lining up along a different pit, this one long and skinny and filled with mud. My father and I looked on as vehicles emblazoned with names like “mud patrol” attempted to drive through the mud and, one by one, failed and had to be pushed or pulled out by a backhoe. In the end, only a jacked-up suped-up Studebaker and a snowmobile (yes, a snowmobile!) made it through the mud. We departed just before the ladies-only coleslaw wrestling and wet T-shirt contest began.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t given the Redneck Olympics the gold metal for “most redneck.” Those of you who have followed this blog will understand when you remember the single most redneck thing, and perhaps the weirdest thing, that I have ever seen, or will ever see. In third place comes a “pit party” that I attended this summer, featuring an excavator feeding a bonfire. The Redneck Olympics were pretty much the only thing that could finally get me to shut up about this “pit party.”
Anyway, I’ve learned a couple of things from my forays into redneck territory. 1. The sand pit is the natural habitat of the Maine redneck (thank you Silas for pointing this out) and 2. rednecks are a friendly, welcoming, fun bunch as long as they aren’t the racist kind.
Finally, because this blog is supposed to be about art sortof, here are some sketches of a cheese label that I am working on for The Cosmic Goat Farm and Creamery up the road.