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

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Boat with lit sign reading ‘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 the crowd with his boat lit up with the phrase ‘FJB, Let’s go Brandon’ during Yorktown’s annual lighted boat parade on December 4.
  • But two days after taking 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 as the winner of the best show and 48 hours later I got the call that I was disqualified,” he said.










A boat captain who won a celebratory light show after decorating his boat with lights that read “FJB, Let’s go Brandon” was stripped of his gong after the message was deemed overtly political.

Captain Bill Berger’s boat, named ‘Southern Rock’, decorated with pine trees and reindeer and lit with the phrase ‘Let’s go Brandon’ and the letters ‘FJB’ in Christmas lights, was voted Best Show by the Yorktown crowd. .

Both phrases are thinly veiled replacements recently coined by conservative groups in place of “F*** Joe Biden.”

Captain Bill Berger’s boat (pictured), called ‘Southern Rock’, decorated with pine trees and lit with the phrase ‘Let’s go Brandon’ and the letters ‘FJB’ in Christmas lights, was taken by the crowd on York City.

Captain Bill Berger (pictured) took first place at Yorktown's annual lighted boat parade—until the committee organizing the event withdrew its title, saying its 'Let's go Brandon' display was 'too political'

Captain Bill Berger (pictured) took first place at Yorktown’s annual lighted boat parade—until the committee organizing the event withdrew its title, saying its ‘Let’s go Brandon’ display was ‘too political’

But two days after his brazen entry into the ‘Best in Show’ contest, Berger received a phone call with some bad news.

“They had the awards ceremony and they introduced me as the winner of the best show and 48 hours later I got a call that I was disqualified… They said my boat was too political,” the captain said in an interview with WAVY News 10.

“My boat was the best in the show for the public.”

Usually ‘FJB’ is short for ‘F*** Joe Biden’. But Berger claimed that in this case it actually stood for “falling Joe Biden,” and that on his nautical display, the president “fell off a ladder.”

“Let’s go Brandon” originated at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway in October, as NASCAR fans chanted “F**k Joe Biden” and NBC reporter Kelli Stavast interviewed racer Brandon Brown.

Stavast is said to have misheard the crowd, saying ‘Let’s Go Brandon!’ shouted.

Usually 'FJB' is short for 'F*** Joe Biden'.  But Berger claimed that in this case it actually stood for

Usually ‘FJB’ is short for ‘F*** Joe Biden’. But Berger claimed that in this case it actually stood for “falling Joe Biden,” and that on his nautical display, the president “fell off a ladder.”

The Yorktown Foundation, the non-profit organization that hosts the annual event, knew the theme of its boat before the competition.

“They shouldn’t have been surprised. They had plenty of time to disqualify me,” Berger said.

Only after he won did the committee tell him that any political speech in the parade could jeopardize their 501c3 status.

“If we allowed politics to interfere in events, we would also lose our non-profit status and all these organizations among us would be dissolved,” Foundation director Walt Akers told the outlet.

“I’ve apologized more in the last 48 hours than in the rest of my life, I hope.”

Berger’s stripped-down title was given to the runner-up, a “Peace on Earth”-themed boat decorated with angels.

“If we allowed politics to interfere in events, we would also lose our nonprofit status and all these organizations among us would be dissolved,” said Walt Akers, director of the Yorktown Foundation (pictured)

“If we allowed politics to interfere in events, we would also lose our nonprofit status and all these organizations among us would be dissolved,” said Walt Akers, director of the Yorktown Foundation (pictured)

Akers acknowledged that the foundation should have informed Berger earlier that his theme was inappropriate, saying that “for” [they] have another event in Yorktown, [they] going to make sure everyone understands that we are the government and by the IRS laws that prevent us from making any political speech.”

In a statement it plans to present at its board meeting, the committee said they would “pre-assess all entries” for entries in next year’s parade.

“While we recognize that political division is a factor in our everyday discourse, we do NOT want it to negatively affect anyone’s enjoyment of our community events,” the statement read.

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