Over the weekend, a quaint little festival took place up in Hebron, Maine: the Redneck Olympics. Don’t ask me why this event happened in Maine. I didn’t think that rednecks were allowed to cross the Mason-Dixon line. The event featured typical redneck fare, including a greased watermelon haul, a wife-carrying race, toilet seat horseshoes, and bobbing for pig’s feet. Needless to say, it was a hit.
So naturally, when I heard that a lawsuit was brewing over Maine’s summer games, I wondered what could have happened. Was someone injured during a Dukes of Hazard-style car jump competition? Did someone get whiplash after one too many bucks on the mechanical bull? Was there an abundance of alcohol poisoning after the PBR case race?
But none of these things happened. No arrests were made, and the lone injury was a bee sting. So why is the organizer of the Redneck Olympics facing a lawsuit? Let the games begin, y’all….
Before we get into the lawsuit, here is some additional coverage about the event from WCSH Portland:
Looks like a good time, right? Well, leave it to the legal division of the U.S. Olympic Committee to spoil all the fun. Henry Brooks, the event’s organizer, claims that the Committee threatened him with a lawsuit over his use of the word “Olympics.” The Lewiston Sun Journal has the details:
“I’m going to refuse to not use that word,” he said. Brooks said the farthest he’d be willing to go would be replacing the “O” in Olympics with a zero. “The ‘Zero-lympics.’ Are they going to say I can’t use numbers?”
Brooks said he hadn’t contacted a lawyer but was willing to fight the matter. “They can drag me into court,” he said Tuesday. “Nobody owns a word.”
… [But u]nder the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, the committee has exclusive rights to the name in the U.S. and a responsibility to protect it.
I guess Brooks isn’t familiar with trademark law. Do we have any country bumpkin lawyers on Above the Law who can explain this concept to him?
All the Committee wants to do is protect the value of the Olympic games. For some reason, I don’t think an event that features mud wrestling, lawn mower racing, and wet t-shirt contests can live up to the integrity of the Olympics. (But admittedly, watching the Redneck Olympics sounds a lot better than watching teenage girls getting destroyed by China’s pre-schoolers.)
But most people know better than to screw with the Committee. According to the Committee’s director of communications, Lindsay Hogan, most people are “very willing to work with [the Committee].” Notably, the “Gay Olympics” bent very quickly to the Committee’s will and changed its name to the “Gay Games.”
But the rednecks aren’t like the gays. They won’t bow to authority and play nice with the Committee. Rednecks are a breed (or an in-breed) of their own. With their GIT-R-DONE mentalities and homes on wheels, they feel entitled to the Redneck Olympics. Screw the law. Yeehaw!
So what will become of the Redneck Olympics? If Brooks is forced to adopt another name for the event, perhaps he can consult with the organizers of the Summer Redneck Games in Georgia, which promises to be “more fun than indoor plumbing.” I bet that’ll go over with Brooks like a pregnant pole vaulter.
Maine’s “Redneck Olympics” Prompts Lawsuit over Name [MPBN]
Hundreds drawn to Maine for Redneck Olympics [WDAM Channel 7]
Redneck Olympics faces lawsuit over name [Lewiston Sun Journal]
Redneck Olympics held in Hebron [WCSH Portland]