WTF Fun Fact 13599 – The Florida Man Games

Pete Melfi, inspired by a decade of zany “Florida Man” headlines during his tenure in radio and podcasting, wanted to recreate the spirit of those escapades. The unique challenge? Giving participants the thrilling experience of a “Florida Man” adventure, but without the threat of arrest. Enter the “Florida Man Games,” an athletic showdown promising wild fun with zero jail time.

First Responders Join the Florida Man Fun

Melfi’s rapport with St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick turned out to be a game-changer. Not only did Hardwick find the concept hilarious, but he also brought along a team of volunteers from the sheriff’s office. Their mission? To chase down participants in one of the event’s highlight challenges: the “Evading Arrest Obstacle Course.” This race sees competitors dodging police officers as they leap fences and dart through backyards.

More Than Just Evading Arrest

The Florida Man Games, set for February 24, 2024, in St. Augustine, isn’t just about dodging the cops. The event roster includes the Weaponized Pool Noodle Mud Duel, where teams battle it out in a colossal above-ground pool. There’s also the “Beer Belly Florida Sumo” contest, a mullet competition, and the amusingly titled “Florida Ma’am” contest. One of the most anticipated showdowns is the “Brawl of the Badges,” where police officers and firefighters exchange blows in a friendly boxing match.

Calling All Teams: Enter the Colosseum

Sixteen select teams will experience the mayhem firsthand in the “colosseum,” as Melfi playfully dubs the venue. With a projected crowd of 10,000, including both competitors and ticket-holders, the atmosphere promises electric energy. Prospective teams need to act fast, as the entry deadline looms on November 15. By the month’s end, the final teams will lock in their spots, as announced on The Florida Man Games’ official website.

The Essence of The Florida Man Games

Beyond the chaos and laughter, what is Melfi’s true aspiration for the games? He’s after genuine, side-splitting hilarity. “Just as with the headlines, our primary goal is to induce laughter,” Melfi shares. To him, laughter is the most precious gift one can offer, and the games are his way of spreading joy.

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Source: “‘Evading Arrest’ Among Events at Florida Man Games — and Founder Says ‘a Ton’ of Cops Volunteered as Chasers” — People

WTF Fun Fact 13540 – Florida Man Tries Running to London

Reza Baluchi, a 44-year-old man from Florida, had a peculiar and ambitious dream: to “run to London” across the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

Unlike traditional marathoners who dash on the pavement, Reza’s strategy was different. He aspired to make this transatlantic journey inside a floating contraption that remarkably resembled a hamster wheel.

Not So Fast, Florida Man

On August 26, 2023, the US Coast Guard spotted Baluchi 70 miles off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia. When asked for his vessel’s registration, Baluchi, slightly disoriented, claimed he had it on board but couldn’t locate it.

Coast Guard officials became concerned when they assessed the condition of his vessel. Comprising wires and buoys, they deemed his journey “manifestly unsafe.”

Their worries were justified; Baluchi’s unique vessel wasn’t the standard ship one would expect to see on a voyage across the ocean. They requested him to disembark, but the journeyman had other plans.

A Standoff at Sea: Florida Man vs. Coast Guard

Baluchi resisted the Coast Guard’s orders to leave his vessel. He remained defiant inside his floating wheel for three arduous days. Allegedly, he even threatened that he had an explosive device on board.

However, after a tense standoff, Baluchi finally exited his vessel, which led to his arrest. He now faces charges of obstructing a boarding procedure and violating port orders.

Past Endeavors on the Open Waters

Baluchi’s audacious attempt to run across the Atlantic was not an isolated incident. He has a history of embarking on such extraordinary adventures.

In 2014, he tried to make a trip to Bermuda. However, the voyage didn’t go as planned. He got lost and had to rely on fishermen for directions. Ignoring the Coast Guard’s warnings, he continued on his quest, only to activate his locator beacon 70 nautical miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida.

Yet, the spirit of the adventurer remained unbroken. In interviews, he emphasized, “I’ll never give up my dream.”

A Charitable Mission at Heart

Behind these perilous adventures lies a noble intent. Baluchi aims to raise funds for various causes. From supporting homeless individuals to raising awareness about the treatment of women in Iran, his objectives are altruistic.

He even maintains a webpage for his efforts at

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Source: “Florida Man Arrested After Attempting To “Run To London” Across The Atlantic Ocean” — IFL Science