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Saturday February 13th, 2016 6:00AM

Organizers cancel this year's Redneck Games

By The Associated Press
EAST DUBLIN - Organizers of the Redneck Games, a Georgia 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 this year's 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 hosting the Summer Olympics, has drawn visitors from as far away 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 the Oconee River could be contaminated by bacteria draining from a restroom installed at the park, the Telegraph of Macon reported.

The city signed a consent order with the agency last month, agreeing to conduct regular fecal coliform testing in the area and to pay a $10,000 fine for a series of environmental violations related to management of the park over the last five years.

Drew said the decision to cancel the Redneck Games after 17 years was unrelated to any contamination concerns.

City officials also dispute the state agency's interpretation of the situation.

``We responded to everything (EPD) ever gave us, but we didn't agree with what they wanted us to do,'' Drew said.

City officials think the high bacteria levels were caused by some kind of animal rather than the restroom, Drew told the Telegraph. He said the restroom isn't heavily used and isn't open during the Redneck Games, when portable toilets are used instead.

The event was a fund-raiser for the local Lions Club. Club members will revisit hosting 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.''
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