The Tragic Kingdom: Mud and Mayhem at Florideah’s Swampfest

“THE MOST ASS KICKING EVENT IN BMX,” is the Florideah Swampfest‘s self-described moniker. And, after seeing Bob Crolin‘s photoset from the raucous ramp-and-rail-junkyard extravaganza, we’re not going to argue with that (or the all caps). Scope this rowdy photoset to see what happens when 2,000 of the country’s wildest BMX riders are unleashed in Florida’s tragic kingdom.

Warning, there are some butts in this gallery, so it’s probably NSFW depending on where you work!

“Get out of the way!” I looked around for the dumbass about to get run over and then realized that dumbass was me. “MOVE,” the crowd yelled as I scurried in a direction I hoped was safe, and then I saw the blue Citi bike barreling towards me.

I raised my camera in time to make one frame of the blue cruiser mid 360 over a muddy moat that surrounded the 40-foot-tall plywood castle. Cheers and screams rang out as a bunch of sunburned BMX’ers surrounded the daredevil on the stolen bike. This is exactly what I drove almost two hours to see, and it would be far from the wildest thing I’d witness.

Since 2016, BMX pro Trey Jones has invited the country to descend on Wildwood, Florida, for the Florideah Swampfest. This year, over 2,000 people witnessed some of the gnarliest BMX the Dirty South has to offer.

Sketchy ramps, mud galore, and rails that looked like they’d give you tetanus if you just touched them. The smell of sweat and weed wafted through the air with the occasional pungent sulfur cloud from fireworks. The “Tragic Kingdom,” as Jones puts it, with the best and worst Florida has to offer.

At the end of the weekend, the crowd ceremoniously burns the entire course to the ground. The castle is doused in gasoline and soon goes up in flames. I watched as a fireworks mortar went sailing over my head, but instead of exploding in the sky, it landed at the feet of several people watching the mayhem.

Everyone broke out in a sprint headed in every direction as the bomb exploded in a concussion of red sparks. Things got so hairy that the Pantera cover band quit after the third song and ran for cover.

I can’t wait for next year!

Be sure to check out the full gallery for more details on the swampy shenanigans in the captions!