Swamp buggy races are back in Collier County

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

Swamp buggy races are back in Southwest Florida. The outdoor event will provide weekend entertainment for people flocking from all over to watch them, bringing in some money to the region’s economy. With the pandemic, there will be some changes to how the event is run.

Florida Sports Park in Collier County is set to host swamp buggy races, where the event will follow mask guidelines during the pandemic. People going to see the races will notice worker and volunteers wearing masks as a safety measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

Event organizers confirm people attending can take their masks while outdoors and together with their families or groups.

There is also a viewing area where you can watch the buggies hit the track from your car if you feel that is safer.

Swamp buggy races have been a tradition in Collier County for the past 72 years.

“It started with the hunters,” buggy racer “Barefoot” Bobby Williams said. “This was all swamp land you couldn’t get around out here, and so one buggy was faster than the others, ‘No, it’s not. Yes, it is,’ One thing lead to another.”

Williams has been a driver in the swamp buggy races in Collier County for 13 of those years.

“It is one of the world’s best-kept secrets,” Williams said. “The swamp buggy races has evolved from, you wouldn’t believe.”

Soon bleachers at the sports park will be full of people coming from all over to watch the buggies race.

“We are expecting a full sold-out crowd,” Williams said. “Now, we have so many tourist retirees, tourists, family, people with their children.”

People are glad to hear vendors and businesses are finally able to make some income.

“For those that are still hanging on, this is such good news,” Brian Pugh said. “Bring in the tourists; be safe. As we get more into vaccinations, this will help.”

Practice races will be open to the public Saturday. Sunday, the competitive races will take place, and the champion will be crowned.

People such as Pugh feel the event will be safe.

“If it’s outside, I’m pretty good with it,” Pugh said.

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