History of Naples, Florida Swamp Buggy Races

The Winter Classic and first Swamp Buggy Weekend of 2023  begins Saturday Morning January 28 with a Winter Classic Swamp Buggy Parade down US 41 in Naples. Sunday January 29 is the  2023 Winter Classic Swamp Buggy Race day that will always be community gathering, and another celebration for legendary local families. Races during season also are an introduction to new residents who will become instant fans of this sport that is 100% real Local Florida Life.

First timers will discover a different type of vehicle, originally built as all-terrain transportation and a race that is indigenous to Naples and Collier County that very well could be the oldest spectator race in the State of Florida. While Sebring International Raceway is North America’s oldest permanent road racing facility, established in 1950, competitive racing of Swamp Buggies dates back to November 12, 1949, when 50 competitors from Naples, Florida each took their custom Swamp Buggy and raced them officially, and they’ve raced ever since.

What was a pre-hunting season challenge through one of Raymond Bennett’s potato fields for bragging rights and a new shotgun, became an official ‘off-road’ race. Area hunters raced each other through what Swamp Buggy inventor Ed Frank called the biggest hole in the vicinity of Naples” in  front of ‘a huge crowd’ which was most all of the year-round residents of the Naples area.  That makes that first race in 1949 a full year before the track in Sebring opened and four years before the first Formula One 12-Hours of Sebring Race, and 10 years before stock cars began racing for 500 miles around a track in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Swamp Buggy Races Winter Classic Weekend starts on Saturday January 28th when the Swamp Buggy Parade begins at 10 AM starting on US 41 at Fleishmann Blvd.  and heads south downtown with the parade ending on Third Street South in Naples. Like none other, the Swamp Buggy tradition began as racers showed off their creations on the way to the track and to this day it’s a way to see what each buggy builder and crew in varied category types has done to stay ahead of the competition. New racers and fans show up every year and this tradition remains to be a natural resource of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Indeed recent residents and visitors find out every year about the race and the culture of the Florida Swamp Buggy, but it began when Naples’ Ed Frank invented what we know today as the swamp buggy as a necessary vehicle that immediately became valuable in the early progress and development of the Everglades.  Originally named “Tumble Bug”, the prototype was a tall and strange-looking vehicle and was used for virtually everything from exploration and hunting to family transportation dating back to the early nineteen thirties and forties.  Mr. Frank’s first swamp buggy is far from what will race and that first track is a ways from the current home of the ‘World Famous Swamp Buggy Days’ at the Florida Sports Park on Rattlesnake Hammock Road but technology, aerodynamics, engineering, ‘shop secrets’ and old fashioned wrenching, every race gets better, the competition reaches high levels and the event bridges generations and families.

As a sport,  ‘Swamp Buggy Days’ continues to grow and is an important part of Naples, Florida’s tradition and history. 
ALL SWAMP BUGGY RACES ARE HELD AT THE ‘MILE O’MUD’
8520 Rattlesnake Hammock Rd Naples, FL 34114 USA

  • 2023 Swamp Buggy Races Naples, FL Schedule & News 

  • WINTER CLASSIC SWAMP BUGGY RACES

  • Sunday January 29, 2023
  • 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM
  • Swamp Buggy Tickets for this Race Day are on Sale NOW
  • SPRING CLASSIC NIGHT RACE

  • Saturday March 4, 2023
  • Gates Open 2:30 PM*  Program Begins 3:45*  Green Flag 4:30*
  • Tickets go on Sale 30 Days Prior to Race Day at Swamp Buggy Tickets
  • BUDWEISER CUP CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT RACE

  • Saturday April 1, 2023
  • Gates Open 2:30 PM*  Program Begins 3:45*  Green Flag 4:30*
  • Tickets go on Sale 30 Days Prior to Race Day at Swamp Buggy Tickets

2023 Swamp Buggy Parade Naples, FL Schedule & News

  • Winter Classic Swamp Buggy Parade
  • Saturday January 28,2023
  •  10 AM – Noon
  • Parade Route Coastland Mall to 3rd Ave. North
  • Features  Swamp Buggy Race Drivers & Legends (Candy Toss)
  • Swamp Buggy Mascot ‘Swampy’ and Swamp Buggy Queen Past & Present

SWFL Swamp Buggy Races    5 Things You Might Not Know About   (Swamp Buggy Trivia)

  1. Inventor Ed Frank’s first attempts began in the early 1920’s as he tried to modify any discarded car or truck parts to help hunters better navigate the marshes of undeveloped land and unreachable areas of Florida’s West Coast leading to the Everglades. The first Swamp Buggy was called  ‘Tumble Bug‘.
  2. The Swamp Buggy has been recognized as a vehicle in the State of Florida and has aided Law Enforcement since the early nineteen thirties. Over 90 years later, the Swamp Buggy continues to be part of many Florida counties vehicle fleets as well as other states
  3. Following the end of  World War II, Swamp Buggy builders used war surplus vehicles especially jeeps, along with aircraft tires incorporating them into the Tumble Bug style of Buggy.  Years later larger agriculture tractor tires were used.
  4. The First Official Swamp Buggy Race was held in Naples Florida on November 12, 1949 a  full year before any racing began in Sebring and 10 years before stock cars began racing Daytona Beach, Florida.
  5. Even though there are official rules for building and racing,  a multitude of  designs, engine types, and other innovations are used in the World Famous Swamp Buggy Races held typically three to four times a year in Naples, Florida. Designs and styles vary drastically when the  Swamp Buggy is used for hunting , touring or exploring. The  two designated styles of Swamp Buggy are the Glades Buggy which has larger rear tires, and sits comparatively lower, with a build that looks similar to a jeep. The Palm Beach Buggy has four huge wheels, and sits higher.

 

History of Naples, Florida Swamp Buggy Races

The Winter Classic Swamp Buggy Weekend and the first of 2023  begins Saturday Morning January 28 with a Swamp Buggy Parade down US 41 in Naples & and the next day the 2023 Winter Classic Swamp Buggy Race will Sunday January 29 will be a community gathering, another celebration for legendary local families and an introduction to new residents who will become instant fans of this sport that is 100% real Local Florida Life.

First timers will discover a different type of vehicle, originally built as all-terrain transportation and a race that is indigenous to Naples and Collier County that very well could be the oldest spectator race in the State of Florida. While Sebring International Raceway is North America’s oldest permanent road racing facility, established in 1950, competitive racing of Swamp Buggies dates back to November 12, 1949, when 50 competitors from Naples, Florida each took their custom Swamp Buggy and raced them officially, and they’ve raced ever since.

What was a pre-hunting season challenge through one of Raymond Bennett’s potato fields for bragging rights and a new shotgun, became an official ‘off-road’ race. Area hunters raced each other through what Swamp Buggy inventor Ed Frank called the biggest hole in the vicinity of Naples” in  front of ‘a huge crowd’ which was most all of the year-round residents of the Naples area.  That makes that first race in 1949 a full year before the track in Sebring opened and four years before the first Formula One 12-Hours of Sebring Race, and 10 years before stock cars began racing for 500 miles around a track in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Swamp Buggy Races Winter Classic Weekend starts on Saturday January 28th when the Swamp Buggy Parade begins at 10 AM starting on US 41 at Fleishmann Blvd.  and heads south downtown with the parade ending on Third Street South in Naples. Like none other, the Swamp Buggy tradition began as racers showed off their creations on the way to the track and to this day it’s a way to see what each buggy builder and crew in varied category types has done to stay ahead of the competition. New racers and fans show up every year and this tradition remains to be a natural resource of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Indeed recent residents and visitors find out every year about the race and the culture of the Florida Swamp Buggy, but it began when Naples’ Ed Frank invented what we know today as the swamp buggy as a necessary vehicle that immediately became valuable in the early progress and development of the Everglades.  Originally named “Tumble Bug”, the prototype was a tall and strange-looking vehicle and was used for virtually everything from exploration and hunting to family transportation dating back to the early nineteen thirties and forties.  Mr. Frank’s first swamp buggy is far from what will race and that first track is a ways from the current home of the ‘World Famous Swamp Buggy Days’ at the Florida Sports Park on Rattlesnake Hammock Road but technology, aerodynamics, engineering, ‘shop secrets’ and old fashioned wrenching, every race gets better, the competition reaches high levels and the event bridges generations and families.

As a sport,  ‘Swamp Buggy Days’ continues to grow and is an important part of Naples, Florida’s tradition and history. 
ALL SWAMP BUGGY RACES ARE HELD AT THE ‘MILE O’MUD’
8520 Rattlesnake Hammock Rd Naples, FL 34114 USA

  • 2023 Swamp Buggy Races Naples, FL Schedule & News 

  • WINTER CLASSIC SWAMP BUGGY RACES

  • Sunday January 29, 2023
  • 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM
  • Swamp Buggy Tickets for this Race Day are on Sale NOW
  • SPRING CLASSIC NIGHT RACE

  • Saturday March 4, 2023
  • Gates Open 2:30 PM*  Program Begins 3:45*  Green Flag 4:30*
  • Tickets go on Sale 30 Days Prior to Race Day at Swamp Buggy Tickets

 

  • BUDWEISER CUP CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT RACE

  • Saturday April 1, 2023
  • Gates Open 2:30 PM*  Program Begins 3:45*  Green Flag 4:30*
  • Tickets go on Sale 30 Days Prior to Race Day at Swamp Buggy Tickets

2023 Swamp Buggy Parade Naples, FL Schedule & News

  • Winter Classic Swamp Buggy Parade
  • Saturday January 28,2023
  •  10 AM – Noon
  • Parade Route Coastland Mall to 3rd Ave. North
  • Features  Swamp Buggy Race Drivers & Legends (Candy Toss)
  • Swamp Buggy Mascot ‘Swampy’ and Swamp Buggy Queen Past & Present

 

SWFL Swamp Buggy Races    5 Things You Might Not Know About   (Swamp Buggy Trivia)

  1. Inventor Ed Frank’s first attempts began in the early 1920’s as he tried to modify any discarded car or truck parts to help hunters better navigate the marshes of undeveloped land and unreachable areas of Florida’s West Coast leading to the Everglades. The first Swamp Buggy was called  ‘Tumble Bug‘.
  2. The Swamp Buggy has been recognized as a vehicle in the State of Florida and has aided Law Enforcement since the early nineteen thirties. Over 90 years later, the Swamp Buggy continues to be part of many Florida counties vehicle fleets as well as other states
  3. Following the end of  World War II, Swamp Buggy builders used war surplus vehicles especially jeeps, along with aircraft tires incorporating them into the Tumble Bug style of Buggy.  Years later larger agriculture tractor tires were used.
  4. The First Official Swamp Buggy Race was held in Naples Florida on November 12, 1949 a  full year before any racing began in Sebring and 10 years before stock cars began racing Daytona Beach, Florida.
  5. Even though there are official rules for building and racing,  a multitude of  designs, engine types, and other innovations are used in the World Famous Swamp Buggy Races held typically three to four times a year in Naples, Florida. Designs and styles vary drastically when the  Swamp Buggy is used for hunting , touring or exploring. The  two designated styles of Swamp Buggy are the Glades Buggy which has larger rear tires, and sits comparatively lower, with a build that looks similar to a jeep. The Palm Beach Buggy has four huge wheels, and sits higher.

 

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