The Hurricane Is Coming: Swamp Buggy Racing In Naples Florida
Get Your Mud On
The Hurricane is coming.
Texas Outlaw, Swamp Cat and Son of a Sailor are all preparing.
And they say that Swamp Witch will be there, too.
The uninitiated may be alarmed. For the rest, the buzz of these ominous-sounding, colorful swamp buggy names can mean only one thing: It's time for the races.
If you are visiting Naples, Florida during the months of January, March or October, you're going to need one thing: directions to the Florida Sports Park, where the swamp buggy races are held three times annually.
Swamp Buggy Fever
The swamp buggy, also known as a woods or hunting buggy, was born in the early days of Collier County development as an invention necessary to penetrate the extensive, boggy mire of the county itself and the Everglades to the south.
Today's buggy has evolved into a high-tech, finely tuned racing machine, with drivers investing as much as $70,000 for the midclass vehicles.
All together, there are seven buggy classes. They range from the 4-cyclinder Jeeps that battle their way through the muddy terrain of the figure eight, "Mile-o-Mud" track to the higher performance, promodified class where vehicles boast upwards of 900 horsepower.
Still Waters Run Deep
The famed "Sippy Hole," a 4-to-6 foot deep water/mud hole that drivers must negotiate at the beginning of the race, is the most feared of the track's many obstacles. It derived it's name from Milton "Sippy" Morris, a native Mississippian who began racing buggies after relocating to Naples and who, by all accounts, spent most of his track time stuck in the hole.
While the higher-performance classes skim right across the hole, the jeeps must muscle their way through practically submerged. Drivers can be chest-deep in water as their modified exhaust and air cleaner pipes rise from the water like periscopes.
How About A Mud Bath?
The October races kick off each year with the annual Swamp Buggy Parade in downtown Naples. Festivities then move to the Swamp Buggy Pavilion at the Florida Sports Park for the traditional Swamp Buggy Dance. The October weekend races conclude on Sunday with the Swamp Buggy Queen's mud bath. How else could you possibly end the weekend?
Of all the things to do in Naples, nothing is more exciting, more unique, and more, well, nuts, than the Swamp Buggy Races.
Vendors are on site at the sports park selling food and merchandise during each of the three annual race weekends to keep you well-fed throughout the day. For more information and tickets, visit SwampBuggy.com.
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