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Hundreds expected at Redneck Games of Arkansas

Associated Press Published: October 12, 2012
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The event doesn't actually use beer. To keep the teetotalers in the dry county happy, they use cans of an off-brand soda instead.

"They look a lot like alcoholic beverage cans," Miller said. "They're blue and they got wavy white letters on them."

While the event's organizers say it's all in good fun, the notion of repeating a stereotype can be offensive.

"There's a fine line between celebrating the culture and internalizing negative stereotypes," said J. Dennis Murray, a psychology professor at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pa., and a former president of the National Association for Rural Mental Health.

The games aren't unique to Arkansas. Georgia's redneck games made an appearance in TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," a reality television show about a young beauty pageant competitor and her family's redneck lifestyle. The show adds subtitles as many people speak, underscoring the idea that the people on screen are so different from viewers that they speak a different language.

"A lot of those shows, I do think that they perpetuate the ignorance and I really don't like them," Miller said.

Some self-declared rednecks celebrate what to others is a pejorative term that conjures up the sunburned necks of farm workers who spent their days in the field.

Mark "Bubba" Marucci, who helps organize a similar redneck competition in Oakland, Md., said redneck isn't such a dirty word anymore.

"Redneck's just a state of mind," said Marucci, a self-professed redneck. "I love camo. You shoot it, I'll cook it. I drive a pickup truck and I've got a John Deere."

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Follow Jeannie Nuss at http://twitter.com/jeannienuss