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Florida men doing Florida things

By Catherine Nguyen April 4, 2024

The sun beats down, the haze blurring the scene of men with mullets, shirtless overalls and patriotic hats running through backyards. They sprint over fences and onto streets as police officers pursue them with handcuffs…from a sex toy shop. People cheer the men on from under tented seating at Francis Field in St. Augustine, shouting profanities and clutching their beer bottles. This is not a grand heist, nor a fever dream—it is the Evading Arrest Obstacle Course of the Florida Man Games.

Dreamed up by Pete Melfi, the owner of The 904 Now media outlet, the Florida Man Games—which made their debut on Feb. 24 this year—are a series of wacky competitions meant to embrace and poke fun at the absurdity of the Florida Man phenomenon for a prize of $5,000. Florida was a “rogue's paradise” in its conception, with robbers making up a significant portion of its population at the time. This created a culture of outrageousness that that paved the way for the rise of the “Florida Man '' in the early 2010s, as the Twitter (now X) account @_FloridaMan shared eccentric headlines pertaining to comical crimes committed in the Sunshine State—from crashing ambulances to using human-sized floating hamster wheels to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Memes and internet challenges in honor of Florida Man began to circulate, including the Florida Man birthday challenge, where people search up what outlandish crime was committed that day in Florida on their birthday.

Jane Hong Art

Melfi wanted to embrace the weirdness of Florida and play into the Florida Man punchline through the competition. He had originally envisioned a 0.5K Beer run, before eventually expanding it into a broader contest. The judges for the event were “American Gladiator” stars Dan “Nitro” Clark and Lori “Ice” Fetrick, and the emcee was Josh “Wicks” Robinson, also known by the social media handle @OmgItsWicks for his “Only in Florida” videos. To compete, the teams must submit a promo video for consideration—and in true Florida spirit, the craziest ones are picked, including one of a man pulling an alligator out of a lake. 

“The Florida Man Games are a fun celebration of Florida’s crazy culture. The variety of events is especially exciting, because it reflects the sheer amount of outrageous acts that represent the Florida Man; but of the various competitions, the mullet contest stood out to me because judging haircuts seems hilarious,” Senior Jahan Garg said.

In addition to the “Evading Arrest Obstacle Ccourse,” the events of the Florida Man Games included an “Eat the Butt challenge,” where participants raced to finish eating a pork butt platter; a Weaponized Pool Noodle mud duel; a Category 5 cash grab, where teams had to grab cash while wind is blown at them; “Florida Ssumo,” where teams had to wrestle opponents out of the ring or make them spill their beer; a mullet contest; a pinup contest for womengirls; chicken coop bingo; and a 911 fight night, where police officers fought firefighters. There were also “Cultural Demonstrations” of Florida at the Florida Man Games, such as alligator shows, datil pepper vendors and SWAT vehicles.

“I would have been absolutely keen on joining the Florida Man Games, because they offer an exhilarating experience that fits my preference for highly exciting events. The 911 Fight Night is particularly appealing to me due to its intensity, and I would be eager to participate in the Category 5 Cash Grab because it seems like a fun way to earn money effortlessly,” Freshman Katherine Zhang said.

Tickets cost $45, and sales exceeded $5,000. Notable teams that competed were the Red Eyed Gator Huggers, with Mickey the green iguana as a participant; the Cooter Commandos, who had a passionate Facebook page dedicated to trash talking other teams; and team Hanky Spanky, who won the competition. The Florida Man games, in true Florida fashion, were certainly a sight to behold, leaving Floridians anticipating the next one.


About the Contributors

Catherine Nguyen

staff writer & artist

Both a writer and an artist for The Charger Account, Catherine Nguyen is a freshman who likes drawing, baking, and taekwondo!

Jane Hong


Jane Hong is a sophomore at Leland High School and is an artist for the Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys listening to K-pop music, dancing, sleeping, and doodling.

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