Rural Missouri - September 2013 - (Page 20)

Mowing d the com Above: Lawn mower racers can choose to spend as little or as much as they’d like on their machines. Jeff Lawson of Delta says he spent $1,700 for the engine of his “Mowstang.” Right: Kenny Hoxworth, a Black River Electric Cooperative member from Oak Ridge and a key organizer for the association, leads the drivers’ meeting before the races begin in late July. Center: Zach Kraemer of Fredericktown, left, and Alex Clark of Delta race side by side during the Southeast Missouri Lawn Mower Association’s Class C feature race at the Patton Saddle Club in early August. Held in partnership with the Patton Lions Club, the racing series offers an affordable, familyfriendly show. I by Jason Jenkins jjenkins@ruralmissouri.coop t’s another Saturday night at the local dirt track. As the crowd files in, drivers and crews hurriedly make final adjustments to their machines. A familiar request comes over the public address system. All rise, remove their hats and bow their heads. The invocation is given, the National Anthem plays and now it’s time. Engines fire. The crowd cheers. Anticipation builds as the first group of racers takes to the track for a few parade laps. Officials give the “one to go” signal, and the drivers take their starting positions, lining up two by two. The field exits Turns 4, and the green flag flies. Another race is underway. Lawn mower racers in southeast Mis What makes this race a bit unusual, however, is that these racers aren’t piloting late-model Chevys or Fords. Instead, you’re more likely to see names like Cub Cadet, Toro or Murray. This is lawn mower racing, and instead of cutting grass, these racers are hoping to mow down the competition and take the checkered flag. Here in Bollinger County at the Patton Saddle Club, the Southeast Missouri Lawn Mower Racing Association has partnered with the Patton Lions Club to put on a show every other Saturday night this summer. It’s fast, furious and family friendly. The sport of lawn mower racing, which some call “GrassCar,” has been around for about two decades. Leagues and series can be found across the United States. There’s even a national touring series where drivers compete on company-sponsored, super-modified mowers that produce speeds of 80 to 90 mph. At this level, like their brethren in NASCAR, there’s really nothing stock about the vehicles. It’s a different story in Patton, however. No manufacturer backing. No big payout at the end of the night. The only things the winners take home are a trophy and bragging rights for the next two weeks. “We used to drag race, but you know, everything’s got expensive,” says Kenny Hoxworth of Oak Ridge, who coordinates the racing series with his family’s help. “This is still a nice hobby that we can play and not have a lot of money in.” Kenny has been racing lawn mowers since 2008. Today, his son, Eric, and his grandson, Hunter, Patton • also compete. The Black River Electric Cooperative member says that after bouncing around from venue to venue, the group’s members hope they’ve found a permanent home at the saddle club. “I expect that as long as lawn mower racing is a viable sport, lawn mower racing is going to be here in Patton,” says John F. Preston, president of the local Lions Club, which operates the saddle club located just north of town. “It’s just a great thing for the people in this community to watch. We couldn’t be happier.” The Southeast Missouri Lawn Mower Racing Association has had a successful first season racing under the lights at the Patton Saddle Club just north of town on Highway 51. 20 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2013

Rural Missouri - September 2013
Contents
Comments
Columns
Merchant miniatures
Scorching the border
All aboard
Blasts from the past
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Mowing down the competition
Hearth and Home
A place for Pershing
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - September 2013

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