A boat decorated in a “Let’s Go Brandon” theme won the “best in show” prize at the 25th Annual Lighted Boat Parade in Yorktown, Virginia, on Saturday, only to have the prize stripped away later by the judging committee.
Bill Berger, owner of the boat, christened the “Southern Rock” and temporary winner of the “best in show” prize, also festooned his craft with an “FJB” sign, as well as Christmas lights and a Christmas tree.
Berger hastened to tell the media that his “FJB” sign did not mean to relay the popular “F*ck Joe Biden” chant but instead meant “falling Joe Biden” because the sign was next to a display of Biden falling off a ladder he said, according to WAVY Channel 10.
“My boat was best in show to the crowd,” Berger insisted.
Two days after his initial win, though, the Yorktown Foundation revoked Berger’s placing and apologized to the public for awarding the prize to the “Southern Rock’s” anti-Joe Biden display.
The Yorktown Foundation’s Walt Akers told the media that his organization made a major error by giving the “best in show” award to Berger.
“At some point as a foundation, we have not properly advised our lower groups on what the rules are as far as a nonprofit operation,” Akers said, pointing out that being a 501c3 nonprofit means that they cannot engage in politics.
“If we allowed politics to interfere with events, we would also lose our nonprofit status, and all these organizations below us would be dissolved,” Akers exclaimed.
Berger thought the cancellation of his prize was unfair because the judging committee knew well ahead of time what the theme of his boat was going to be. The boat owner said, “they should not have been surprised. They had plenty of time to disqualify me.”
Akers admitted that they had ample opportunity to tell Berger that his boat theme was not permitted and said that more training for the judges was needed.
The foundation announced that the final winning slate would be:
1st Place. #25. Eclipse “Peace on Earth”
2nd Place. #17. Plains Emergency Response Boat.
3rd Place. #4. Daddy’s Girl
The Yorktown Foundation also released a statement explaining the situation:
On December 4th, 2021, several members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors were made aware that a boat with an overt political message had participated in the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade, and that the judges had awarded it first place. In discussions with the event organizers, they explained that they were equally perplexed that the boat had won and they took immediate corrective actions. The event organizers immediately notified the judges that the boat would be disqualified because its political statements were at odds with the mission of the Foundation, and the second-place boat would be advanced to the winning position. Further, the event organizers agreed to take steps in the coming year to review all entries in advance and
ensure that they do not detract from the community spirit that this event is designed to foster.
The members of the Yorktown Foundation wish to reiterate that our mission continues to be to unify our community through events and activities that showcase everything that is wonderful about Yorktown, York County and our citizens. While we recognize that political divisiveness is a factor in our daily discourse, we DO NOT want it to negatively impact anyone’s enjoyment of our community events.
We regret that this incident occurred, and we will work to avoid such events in the future.
“Let’s Go, Brandon” became a popular chant at sporting events and a form of protest against Joe Biden after NBC NASCAR reporter Kelli Stavast fraudulently claimed on live television that a crowd chanting “F*ck Joe Biden” was actually chanting “Let’s Go, Brandon,” in honor of Talladega winner and NASCAR driver Brandon Brown.
(Isaac Brekken/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Since then, those wishing to express a non-profane, negative sentiment towards Biden have used “Let’s Go, Brandon” instead.
— Sn00pster (@sn00pdad) October 3, 2021
Finally, the Foundation noted that it was updating the entry requirements for future boat parades.
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