CLINTON — The third annual Redneck Games of Arkansas in Clinton is an event for anyone who wants to have a little clean fun, organizer Jim “Trashman” Miller said.
“You can take your grandma, your kids, your wife — even your preacher,” Miller said. “There’s nothing to worry about. It’s safe; it’s family friendly. Now, you might get a little dirty if you take part in some of the games, but it’s nothing that won’t wash off.”
The games will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Van Buren County Fairgrounds.
Miller said the most unique games are the Average Joe Lawnmower Race, the Road Kill Toss, Toilet Seat Horseshoes, Get Daddy a Cold One and the Speed Eating Pizza Contest. However, he said, they aren’t necessarily the most popular.
“Everyone likes wheelbarrow racing and the Kids’ Tire Roll,” he said. “They really have some fun with them.”
He said the Redneck Games of Arkansas kicked off three years ago with about a dozen events and so many visitors that it swelled the city, which has a population of fewer than 3,000.
There were a lot of “curiosity seekers,” he said. Miller, the owner of Miller Sanitation, said his company sponsors the event and organizes it with the help of a few others. He referred to it as a “community-unity” affair that draws attendees from many states and a couple of foreign countries.
“Unlike some other places, it’s putting Arkansas in a good light,” he said. “We are breaking some of the stereotypes.”
The idea behind the event, Miller said, is to have what amounts to a day of fun for everyone in the family. Being a redneck, he said, isn’t about living in a trailer or getting drunk. Instead, he said, it is about giving one’s self permission to act up a little bit and have fun.
The city of Clinton, he said, is known to the rich and famous. He said he has been contacted by The Huffington Post and a few “Hollywood types” for information. He also said former President Bill Clinton gave the event a “thumbs up” in one of his speeches.
“Bill Clinton owns, or has owned, every T-shirt we’ve ever made,” he said. There’s a resident of the city, he said, who takes care of the delivery of the shirts to the former president.
A couple of different things, Miller said, inspired the first Redneck Games in Clinton. Along with about a half-dozen other people, he said, he attended a downsized redneck event in Little Rock that took place in the parking lot at a small radio station. There, he said, competitors raced wheelbarrows and ate chicken nuggets.
“We had a lot of fun at it,” he said, “but the radio station went down the next week or so. That was short-lived.”
The second motivation was the song “Redneck Games,” performed by comedian Jeff Foxworthy and country singer Alan Jackson. Miller said he saw the song’s video and kept the idea in the back of his mind with the thought, “We can do that.”
Since the launch of the games, there have been a few changes, such as the number of games and charges for entering, he said. Participants have to sign up, but that can be done online or by filling out paperwork the day of the event. Miller said that this year, there will be no entry fee to participate in the games, partially because of the economy and the unemployed in the area.
However, there is an admission fee of $5 for everyone 10 and older. Children younger than 10 will be admitted free. Parking is also free. After expenses, Miller said, all proceeds from the games will go to a scholarship fund for a Clinton-area student.
A feature event this year will be the 4-Wheeler Rodeo, he said, which is a closed event.
“The professionals are putting this on,” he said.
Miller said he never knows until the day of the games how many will participate, so he estimates the time for events. It’s best, he said, to come early and plan to spend the day. Food vendors will sell hamburgers, catfish and barbecue. Nonprofit groups will have booths with services and information, and the Moses Tucker Band of Gravel Ridge will entertain audiences throughout the day.
of Arkansas schedule
8 a.m. — Gates open
9 a.m. — 4-Wheeler Round Up
9:45 a.m. — Kids’ Tire Roll
10:30 a.m. — Road Kill Toss
11 a.m. to noon — Lawnmower Races
Noon — Wheelbarrow Races
12:30 p.m. — Toilet Seat Horseshoes, Horseshoe Tournament and Pizza Speed Eating
1:30 p.m. —Bring Daddy a Cold One
2:30 p.m. — Three-Person Slingshot
3:30 p.m. —Round Hay Bale Roll
3:45 p.m. —4-Wheeler Rodeo
After the Redneck Games end at 5 p.m., Miller said those still vying for a little more fun and food can travel the short distance downtown to the sixth annual Clinton Chili Cook-off, where the cost is $5 per person to eat.