HEBRON — The eighth, and possibly last, Redneck “Blank” was in full gear Saturday as trucks tried to make their way through a mud trench, music was blasting and thousands of people were camped out or riding around the campground on four-wheelers.
Keri Woodcock of Lisbon and her boyfriend, Oland Easler, of Durham tried to make it through the mud trench Saturday but only got 4 or 5 feet through it.
Woodcock said the “track” gets deeper and thicker as people drive through it. The water and mud mix together.
“It’s intense, though; it’s a lot of fun,” Woodcock said.
Easler said his father used to host mud-running at his place in Durham, so he’s no stranger to the high-energy activity.
The truck Easler drove Saturday was built from an old, abandoned truck he found in the woods with his dad.
“We built up our own vehicle,” Easler said. “We pulled the axles, the motor. We built it up slowly.”
Woodcock said this was their fourth or fifth year of attending the festival.
“The bands, the people, it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “You just walk around and every group you see, you know someone. It’s a small world. It’s just a big gathering. Everyone is so happy and smiling all the time.”
Easler said his uncle came to the festival with them this year for the first time. “He’s from Michigan. He still doesn’t know what to think of it,” Easler said.
Sandra Marstaller was watching her two grandsons in the mud-running from the safety of the food tent, as opposed to the crowd pressing up against the track ropes waiting to get covered in mud.
“The dirtier the better here,” she said. “And if they don’t get muddy, they’ll throw themselves into the mud after.”
Her grandsons, Alex and Adam Thibeault, take part in the mud run every year. “They love it. And some of the trucks fly through there. They have no fear,” she said.
She said for them, the festival is a family thing. “If you look around, it’s all ages. That’s what fascinated me.”
Campers and tents were scattered across three campground areas and a main field hosted a stage for live music and tables for food, including a pig roast.
The Redneck Games included toilet-seat horseshoes, greased watermelon haul, tire beer trot and the wife haul.
This year’s event was a fundraiser for the Lewiston Vet Center, a change landowner and event organizer Harold Brooks made earlier this year after learning the center needed help.
“We heard their barbecue was in danger of being canceled, so we invited them to ours,” Brooks’ brother-in-law, Ray Gilliam, said. “We donated 350 tickets to the Vet Center.”
Brooks said last year that the 2017 festival would be the last he would host. But because he hadn’t sold his land yet, he decided to do it again.
“It’s not just a party,” he said. “There are games and people compete. It’s people doing the stuff they love.”
He said a misconception is that “this is just a beer fest, but that was never my intention,” Brooks said. “I just wanted to bring people together. Here, people meet a lot of friends. It’s done what I wanted it to do. This is one of the better things I’ve done.”