For years news readers across the nation have heard of the many bizarre tales of “Florida Man” and his wild and often illegal escapades.
Now, for the first time ever, a tournament has been scheduled to test the “Florida Man” capabilities of every interested Florida man and woman.
Dubbed the Florida Man Games, the tournament is the brainchild of Pete Melfi, a reporter who’s spent years regaling his audience with tales of the “Florida Man.”
“I just thought, ‘How do we give people a chance to live this Florida Man lifestyle … without going to jail?'” Melfi told The Washington Post.
“Melfi’s answer is an event he has dubbed the Florida Man Games — an athletic competition in which contestants from across the state will compete in a bizarre array of challenges inspired by Florida Man stereotypes, from ‘Beer Belly Florida Sumo‘ to a ‘Weaponized Pool Noodle Mud Duel,'” according to the Post.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) May 6, 2023
The tournament is scheduled to occur in February at Francis Field in St. Augustine, Florida and will feature a number of hilarious challenges, including an “Evading Arrest Obstacle Course,” a “Mullet Contest,” “Chicken Coop Bingo,” etc.
“In addition, attendees can experience selfies with alligators, a barbecue competition and ‘cultural demonstrations,'” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“Someone gave me the idea to make it into an athletic competition. It’s going to be a wild day of mud games and Florida-style obstacle courses. It’s going to really be an opportunity to live that Florida Man life for a day,” Melfi told the Sentinel.
Based on ticket sales, he’s reportedly expecting 5,000 to 10,000 people to attend.
“I want a full day of just belly laughs, like we laugh at these stories,” Melfi told the Post.
To compete in the tournament, however, one must first prove themselves.
“Melfi and his fellow event organizers are currently seeking contestants for the games to represent different cities around Florida. Teams interested in participating must submit a promo video for consideration,” the Sentinel notes.
“We’re picking whoever has the wildest, craziest Florida Man videos. We got a guy who sent us a video of him pulling an alligator out of a lake. You don’t have to go that far; please don’t put your life at risk,” Melfi told the paper.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) May 17, 2021
The deadline to sign up is Nov. 15th, and by the end of the month a total of sixteen teams will be selected to compete in the “colosseum,” as Melfi calls it.
The best part is that the police are firefighters are all reportedly in on it.
“I have a great relationship with our local St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick, who was rolling on the floor laughing at the concept of the Florida Man Games,” Melfi told People magazine.
“I asked him if he thought any officers would be interested, and to my surprise, we had a ton of volunteers in the sheriff’s office who stepped up to chase down some Florida men!” he added.
Tickets reportedly range from $45 to $145.
“The main thing I hope people take from the event is a sore midsection from constant laughter. Just like the headlines themselves, we want people to laugh more than anything. I think laughter is one of the best feelings you can give to people, and we all just want people to enjoy themselves immensely,” Melfi told People.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) September 3, 2023
But who exactly is “Florida Man” anyway?
According to The Washington Post, “Florida Man” emerged in the 2010s “after social media made it easy to surface and share wacky headlines that all began with the introduction of an unnamed Floridian protagonist.”
And according to the Associated Press, the concept blew up when a @_FloridaMan X (formerly Twitter) account began “Florida Man” stories to the platform.
— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) March 4, 2019
— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) March 3, 2019
— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) February 25, 2019
But sadly, this account is no longer actively posting “Florida Man” stories.
“Florida Man’s Dr. Frankenstein is Freddie Campion, 33, who finally agreed to step out from behind his face-tattooed Twitter avatar after a series of long off-the-record phone calls, in which he shared his growing unease with what he’d created,” the Post reported in 2019.
“The irony is not lost on me that I thrust some people into the spotlight when they didn’t want it. I was asking for the courtesy that wasn’t afforded to a lot of other people,” he told the paper.
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