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‘Let’s go Brandon’ boat wins, then gets disqualified from Virginia Christmas lights contest


Boat with illuminated sign saying ‘FJB, Let’s go Brandon’ wins Virginia Christmas lights contest – only for organizers to disqualify it hours later for being ‘overtly political’

  • Captain Bill Berger won over the crowd with his boat, lit up with the phrase ‘FJB, Let’s go Brandon,’ at Yorktown’s annual lighted boat parade on December 4
  • But two days after he won first place in the competition, he was stripped of his title, with organizers calling the boat’s theme ‘too political’
  • ‘They had the awards ceremony, and they presented me winning the best in show and 48 hours later I got the phone call I was disqualified,’ he said


A boat captain who won a festive lights display after decorating his boat with illuminations saying ‘FJB, Let’s go Brandon’ was stripped of his gong after the message was deemed overtly political.   

Captain Bill Berger’s boat, called ‘Southern Rock,’ decked out with fir trees and reindeer and lit up with the phrase ‘Let’s go Brandon’ and the letters ‘FJB’ in Christmas lights, was voted best in show by the crowd at the Yorktown.

Both phrases are thinly-veiled replacements recently coined by Conservative groups in place of saying ‘F*** Joe Biden.’  

Captain Bill Berger’s boat (pictured), called ‘Southern Rock,’ decked out with fir trees and lit up with the phrase ‘Let’s go Brandon’ and the letters ‘FJB’ in Christmas lights, was voted best in show by the crowd at the Yorktown.

Captain Bill Berger (pictured) came in first place at Yorktown's annual lighted boat parade - until the committee that organized the event revoked his title, saying that his 'Let's go Brandon' display was 'too political'

Captain Bill Berger (pictured) came in first place at Yorktown’s annual lighted boat parade – until the committee that organized the event revoked his title, saying that his ‘Let’s go Brandon’ display was ‘too political’

But two days after his cheeky entry to the contest won ‘Best in Show,’ Berger got a phone call with bad news. 

 ‘They had the awards ceremony, and they presented me winning the best in show and 48 hours later I got the phone call I was disqualified…They said my boat was too political,’ the captain said in an interview with WAVY News 10.

‘My boat was best in show to the crowd.’

Typically, ‘FJB’ is shorthand for ‘F*** Joe Biden.’ But Berger alleged that in this case, it actually stood for ‘falling Joe Biden,’ and that his nautical display featured the President ‘falling from a ladder.’ 

 ‘Let’s go Brandon’ originated at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway in October, when NASCAR fans chanted ‘F**k Joe Biden’ and NBC reporter Kelli Stavast was interviewing racer Brandon Brown. 

Stavast allegedly misheard the crowd and said they were yelling ‘Let’s Go Brandon!’

Typically, 'FJB' is shorthand for 'F*** Joe Biden.' But Berger alleged that in this case, it actually stood for 'falling Joe Biden,' and that his nautical display featured the President 'falling from a ladder'

Typically, ‘FJB’ is shorthand for ‘F*** Joe Biden.’ But Berger alleged that in this case, it actually stood for ‘falling Joe Biden,’ and that his nautical display featured the President ‘falling from a ladder’

The Yorktown Foundation, the non-profit that organizes the annual event, knew about his boat’s theme before the competition. 

‘They should not have been surprised. They had plenty of time to disqualify me,’ Berger said.

It wasn’t until after he had won that the committee told him that any political speech in the parade could jeopardize their 501c3 status. 

‘If we allowed politics to interfere with events, we would also lose our nonprofit status, and all these organizations below us would be dissolved,’ Foundation Director Walt Akers told the outlet. 

‘I’ve made more apologies in the last 48 hours than for the rest of my life, I hope.’ 

Berger’s stripped title was given to the runner-up, a boat with the theme of ‘Peace on Earth’ adorned with angels. 

'If we allowed politics to interfere with events, we would also lose our nonprofit status, and all these organizations below us would be dissolved,' said Yorktown Foundation Director Walt Akers (pictured)

‘If we allowed politics to interfere with events, we would also lose our nonprofit status, and all these organizations below us would be dissolved,’ said Yorktown Foundation Director Walt Akers (pictured)

Akers acknowledged that the foundation should have notified Berger that his theme was inappropriate sooner, and said that ‘before [they] have any other event in Yorktown, [they] are going to make sure everyone understands we are government and by IRS laws that restricts us from having any political speech.’

In a statement it intends to present at its board meeting, the committee said they would ‘review all entries in advance’ for entries in the parade next year. 

‘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,’ read the statement.       

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