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MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
"Stupid" Contest

Most accidental deaths in the South are immediately preceeded by the sound of someone yelling "Hey, ya'll! Lookit this!" This is the battle cry of the weekend warrior. If you hear it, find a safe place to watch from and enjoy the show.

Now, all you have to do is watch an airboater long enough and you will undoubtedly see something amusing, but they actually have contests to see who can pull a stupider stunt than any of the rest.

Two AirboatsHunting season is a time men live for around here. They load up their camping gear, food, beer, dogs, and weapons and head out to the marsh for a few days of unrestrained drinking, shooting, smoking, bragging, drinking, cussing, airboating and drinking. By the end of hunting season the weekend warriors who have not shot each other (or themselves), gotten irretrevably lost in the marsh, or simply gone home in search of air conditioning and a hot shower have one last blow out.

In one final bacchanal of drinking and bragging they try to outdo each other to prove who is the manliest man. They will race their airboats down the canal, seeing who can turn their boat the sharpest before sinking it. They will climb steep embankments to see who can get the highest before rolling back. They will catch 'gators with their bare hands, kiss a snake....you get the idea. It is not necessary to be really good at any of these things - just be very interesting in the attempt. (Probably a good place to watch for future Darwin Award candidates.)

Now, I really don't object to these contests. At least the guys hold them far, far from town and their families never have to know if their loved one has been crowned king. All I'm saying is that you can get a pretty good show without going all the way out to camp.

Ever watch boaters launch their boats or pull them out of the water on the trailers? Pretty boring, really - except for that one group who had bought a beautiful brand new boat and didn't know that the plug should have gone into the boat before the boat went into the water. That was worth watching.

Towed airboat
One airboat towing another airboat back to town.

Airboaters, of course, do things differently. First of all, when they launch they push the airboat a short ways off the trailer onto dry ground then pull the trailer out from under the boat. They push the boat around to face the water, stand on the gas and they are off. When they come back in and put the boat back on the trailer is when it can get interesting.

The airboater will drive his boat up on the hill, then back the trailer right up to it. Most of the time he will then attach a winch and pull the airboat onto the trailer.

Loading an Airboat

Many drivers will dispense with the winch and simply drive the airboat into position on the trailer. This requires just a little finesse. If the driver gives it too much gas the airboat will leap right off the trailer and into the bed of the pickup.

If he actually lands the airboat on top of the cab of his truck or drives it through the back window, you may be looking at this years king.

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