Do you ever get bored riding your mower 'round and 'round your yard week after week? I must admit, sometimes I did. Until I got an older Huskee six-speed tractor with a failing transmission, that is. The only speeds that would work were first and sixth. First gear was so slow that you could easily pass me walking backwards. Sixth gear, on the other hand, moved considerably faster. I mowed my lawn in record time with that tractor. First, it was all I could do to hang on to my racing lawn mower. But in time I got used to whizzing across my yard, screeching around the corners and turns without slowing down at all. The idea to soup-up my tractor and enter it into lawn mower racing came to mind. I really need it to mow my yard more than I need a dangerous hobby, but still...
"Stab-il" and the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association
But, that hasn't stopped hundreds of men- and a few brave women- across the United States, from racing their own lawn mowers. Just when you thought that man was racing every type of machine he could, someone looked at the lawn mower in a different light. That "someone" were the executives at the Gold Eagle Company in Chicago. Gold Eagle manufactures a gasoline stabilizer called, appropriately, "Sta-bil." Sta-bil keeps gasoline fresh even after it has been stored for a period of time. This product works so well at keeping gasoline from gumming up that it's "the top-selling fuel stabilizer in America." And, who needs this stabilizer more than the millions who put their lawn mowers away at the end of every mowing season? So, the Gold Eagle Company created the "United States Lawn Mower Racing Association" in 1992 as a way to promote their product.
Racing Lawn Mowers Is No April Fools Joke
From the time the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association was founded on April Fools' Day in 1992, racing lawn tractors has proven itself to be no joke! The association has approximately five hundred members, and it's still growing! It has an offshoot, the "North Dakota Lawn Mower Racing Association". The original association contains several groups, including the "Dewberry Mudboggers" from Ohio, and the "Dixie Outlaws" from Alabama. Catchy names for lawnmower racers who soup-up their machines so their opponents will "eat their dust" as they whiz around the track. So far, there have been lawnmower racing events in places like North Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, Washington State, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
These Riders Have the Need For Speed
Just like in auto racing, lawn mower racing has its different classes. The stock classes putt along at about six to eight miles an hour. However, the modified lawn mowers can reach speeds of up to forty miles an hour! That's pretty fast when you're perched on the seat of a simple riding lawn mower! But even that speed doesn't compare with the factory experimental lawn mowers that can zip around the track at sixty miles an hour!
The Economic Advantage of Lawn Mower Racing
Even if you take the blades off your John Deere, Huskee or Craftsman brand lawn mower, and you customize it so it can fly around a race track, you will only have spent a fraction of what it would cost to race an auto. (My father used to build and race Sprint cars. The cost of items like high-performance parts and tires, for example, are phenomenal.) There is no purse to win in lawn mower racing, but the entry fees are nominal. Winners only receive trophies and bragging rights.
If you don't want to race your own mower, you can pick an old one up at a garage sale for cheap. Or, better yet, look for a lawn mower that doesn't run at all. Its owner will probably give it to you just to get rid of it!
Safety First in USLMRA Lawn Mower Racing
The United States Lawn Mower Racing Association believes in "Safety First." That's why every mower that races must have a "kill switch" that runs from the engine to the rider. This switch "kills" the engine in case the rider is thrown off during a race.
Contestants are also required to wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, boots, gloves and full-face helmets to help protect them from injuries.
Find Out the Specific Rules and Regulations
If you're interested in becoming a lawn mower racer, log onto the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association website and read the official rules.