Swamp buggy races are good clean redneck fun. Let me assure my readers, right now, that I do not use the term in it’s derogatory form, but in it’s original form, which meant “hard working people”. After all, the term redneck originally just meant farm workers whose necks were burnt from the sun.
According to Wikipedia:
“The term characterized farmers having a red neck caused by sunburn from hours working in the fields. A citation from 1893 provides a definition as “poorer inhabitants of the rural districts…men who work in the field, as a matter of course, generally have their skin stained red and burnt by the sun, and especially is this true of the back of their necks”.
That being clarified, Let’s have us some good ole fun at the swamp buggy races!!
First of all, there is a queen. Swamp Buggy Queen Jennifer had on a white mini dress and cowboy boots, a very very sparkly crown,and a silk sash. She had a 1st and 2nd runner up, and a Mascot, a green aligator named Swampy.Swampy’s costume could only be described as cheesy, but after all you don’t want your aligator mascot to be too realistic. The under four set were wildly fascinated by Swampy, getting close but not too close, and sometimes even shaking a claw.
There was an announcer who was pretty darn proud of their new pressbox. He was also very old and senile. When participants in the event did not behave as asked, he barked at them. He would often ramble off topic and begin talking as though to himself. His co-announcer continually had to get him back on track. It was hilarious and somehow endearing at the same time.
The buggys themselves defy description. Each had a unique personality and energy. From little jeeps on big wheels to huge monsters with V8 horsepower,
there was a little bit of everything to see. The track is a kind of super 8, with a drop right in front of the stands they called the “sippy hole”. The higher powered buggys flew right over this hole but the smaller ones were literally almost submerged in it. The sippy hole is a integral part of the races, as the spectators hold their breath every time the buggys approach it. Groans from the crowd if one drowned out. Then everything stops while a tractor pulls them out.
Of course these pauses are a perfect time to crowd watch or go down to the “Midway” where all the Fair food is. It’s all there, Caramel corn, funnel cakes, Barbq, hamburgers, and even some cajun. We sample some boiled peanuts, Sorry, Georgia, but, yuck!
One of the best moments came, for me, before the first race when everyone stood for the raising of the flag and the national anthem. A crackly orchestra came over the speakers, and, quietly at first, then gaining strength and momentum, the crowd began to sing. By the end of the always inspiring song, the voices of all of those from every walk of life in the stands, the mailmen and the truck drivers, the cooks, and waitresses, and retirees,the moms and dads and grandparents, all the children, were singing out loud and proud. It gave me chills.
The Queen wants to reward those who have come from the farthest with a Budweiser T Shirt …They come forward, one from France, one from Italy,one from England, and a couple canadians win the prizes. Wait till they wear those Bud shirts back home.
The bottom line is, if you ever get the chance, put aside your worries and go to the swamp buggy races. OK, Monster trucks will do. Just go. It’s a slice of Americana. It’s wonderful, redneck fun.
By the way, there is a 1,000 dollar reward for any tip that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for stealing the Redneck Yacht Club’s sign!!!
Florida Sports Park,
8250 Collier Blvd
Naples, FL 34114
Map it on Google Maps
Saturday, January 28, 2012 10:30 AM – Sunday, January 29, 2012 05:00 PM
Eastern Time (US & Canada) (GMT-05:00