Sometimes you have to see something familiar with a slightly different twist to understand what actually made it so good. In this case we’re talking about 1980s Swamp Buggy racing in Naples, Florida. While the glory shows that we all remember were shown on TNN and made by Diamond P, this one was an ESPN production and while we get to see the same guys in the same rigs, throwing the same rooster tails, and sawing at the same steering wheels, it ain’t the same. Not by a long shot. There are a couple critical things missing here.
Their names are Brock Yates and Steve Evans.
Their role in engaging the viewer, telling stories, and generally making stuff seem more fun than it probably was can only truly be appreciated when they are not doing it. ESPN clearly made this show on a shoestring. For starters they did not send whoever the “play by play” guy is to the event. How do you know? They never show him on camera at all. Secondly they use George Atkinson as the pit reporter. He was like the race director/announcer at the events.
The action is as good as you remember it but the show is about as dry as a pile of Saltine crackers. The fun, the corny jokes, the respectful but hilarious play by play. None of that exists. The lead announcer has about as much charisma as the bush in the lobby of your office.
The buggies rule…the coverage? Meh.