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One-of-a-kind Florida Man Games include evading arrest, beer belly wrestling and other competitions


The first-ever Florida Man Games are set for Feb. 24, 2024, in St. Augustine, Florida — and this competition is unlike most others. 

The Florida Man Games originate from the bizarre news headlines that often come out of the Sunshine State. 

Florida Man Games founder Pete Melfi is no stranger to these wacky headlines, as he has covered them for many years. 

Melfi had a vision to convert strange, viral “Florida man” headlines into a hilarious competition, and the Florida Man Games were born. 

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“There’s definitely a common theme that goes along with Florida man. I tried to think of a way that we can encompass that Florida man into an event,” Melfi told Fox News Digital.

“After we were talking about the event, it kind of evolved into, ‘Well, how do we make this a competition? How do we find out who’s the best Florida man out there or the best group of Florida men out there?'” 

Welcome to Florida - the Sunshine State - sign

Florida is not just the theme park capital of the world. It is also home to the Florida Man Games.  (Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The Florida Man Games feature five main competitions for teams. 

You won’t find games of tug of war or balloon toss challenges at the Florida Man Games — but you will find an event called a catalytic converter, 2 bikes and a handful of copper pipes: race against time.

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“While I was thinking of the courses — like I said, I’ve covered these stories forever — I just tried to think of some of the most common things with Florida man,” said Melfi. 

“There’s often catalytic converters involved in these things in Florida. We got a big problem with stealing copper. I tried to encompass as many of those things into the competitions as possible.”

“So many people were willing to take us up on this.”

Another unique competition at the Florida Man Games is the evading arrest obstacle course. In this competition, participants will be chased by real police officers who volunteered to participate in the event. 

“I was definitely surprised by how many we got,” Melfi said of the police officers who volunteered. 

“I have a great relationship with our St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and our sheriff Rob Hardwick is great. He loves getting involved in community events, and he’s a fun guy. So, it was a really cool fit that they offered this and that so many people were willing to take us up on this,” Melfi said. “It’s something they’re excited about being part of.” 

An alligator in the water

At the Florida Man Games, you’ll be able to test your strength with a ride on a gator — a mechanical one.  (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, file)

Other events at the Florida Man Games include a weaponized pool noodle mud duel, category 5 cash grab and beer belly Florida sumo.

Sixteen teams of three to five will be chosen to participate in the Florida Man Games. Melfi said the event has already received well over 200 applications for the competition. 

The deadline to submit a team application is Nov. 15. 

The best of the applicants will be asked to submit videos of their teams. Some teams have gotten ahead of the game by sending in wild videos along with their applications.

“We got one guy who pulled a live alligator out of a lake on video just to submit for this thing, and he slips during the video, and the gator turns around and snaps at him,” Melfi said. “Please don’t risk your life to enter this thing,” he added — “but we’re definitely looking for wild.” 

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The deadline to submit a team application is Nov. 15. 

There are also general admission tickets available for the event and plenty of other activities to participate in, such as chicken coop bingo, a mullet contest, a ride on a mechanical alligator and an obstacle course. 

Lori "Ice" Fetrick and Dan "Nitro" Clark

Dan “Nitro” Clark and Lori “Ice” Fetrick of “American Gladiators” will be judges at the Florida Man Games event in Feb. 2024. (Nick Hunt/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Melfi’s goal for the first-ever Florida Man Games is a simple one. 

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“My main goal is really just a day of laughter. If everybody walks away, just with their midsection sore, even if we don’t make a dime on the event — if everybody leaves laughing, that’s going to be a success for me,” Melfi said. 

The first-ever Florida Man Games begin Feb. 24, 2024, in St. Augustine. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.



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