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Published:April 7th, 2011 18:47 EST
My New Life as a Champion Lawn Mower Racer

My New Life as a Champion Lawn Mower Racer

By Donna Cavanagh

Each spring I take out my lawn mower and assess its condition. Well, what that means is I turn it upside down and remove the accumulation of gunk that I never removed from the blades the year before.  It`s true I am not a mower mechanic, but I do pick up on potential problems that might interfere with me maintaining my lawn mowing schedule.  The one thing I did notice is that I need new wheels.  I know this because by the end of last season, the self-propulsion feature on my mower had died. And I know this because I was huffing and puffing as I tried to push that stupid machine up the hill in my backyard.

I was going to ask for new wheels for my birthday, but by the time that comes around the mowing season is at its peak, so I decided to give in and order them online. As I was looking for my wheels, I started to scout out the riding mowers that were for sale.  Yes, this was a dare-to-dream moment, but even if I could afford one this year, I wouldn`t get it.  To me, a riding mower is the ultimate admission that I am getting old. I have a half-acre of land. I think I should be able to push a mower once a week across that vast expanse.

I admit that I get a twinge of jealousy when I see my neighbors riding around on their mowers having a grand old time. They are listening to music and singing, and they love to make fun of me for pushing my machine. But I just smile and keep quiet until I know they can`t hear me over their super duper motors and then I scream,

"You old fart! Get off your keester and get some exercise!"

I know this is not a mature attitude, but it`s the best I can do.  Anyway, as I was reading about the mowers, I saw an ad on the page for lawn mower races.  Yes, now driving riding mowers has become an official sport.  There are rules as well as national and local chapters and specific races it`s legit.    Founded in 1992, the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association (www.letsmow.com) wants people to celebrate the fun of lawn mowers. Contestants don`t race for money, but they do get trophies.  I initially thought the races were about who can cut a plot of grass the fastest, but I was mistaken. The mowers, which can get to speeds of 50 MPH, compete on tracks and fields and are held at charity events, fairs, and car shows.

There are rules to the races too. Long-sleeved clothing and long pants must be worn as well as association-approved helmets.  The most important rule -- I think it`s the most important rule because it is in all caps on the website -- is that all cutting blades must be removed from the mower before racing.  Personally, I think that is a good idea. Nothing brings down a good race like decapitating one`s opponent or severing someone else`s limb with a blade which has gone amuk.

As I delved deeper into this organization, I started to think that I might like to do these races. Hey, it`s sort of like extreme sports without all the flipping in mid-air requirements, and I always wanted a motorcycle but due to a lack of balancing skills, I never got to achieve that dream.  And to be honest, I don`t think NASCAR wants me so maybe the Lawn Mowers Racing Association does.  It would be a blast.  I think I might do well at the sport. I have it on good authority mainly Pennsylvania State Troopers, that I am quite capable of reaching and exceeding 50 MPH in any vehicle. 

I think this sport could catch on.  Hey, it could be the next soccer in the US -- only more popular, and it could take over our sporting world.  ESPN or CBS Sports can cover it too. They might need a new sport since, as of now, the NFL has not reached an agreement yet for the upcoming season.  Maybe if the owners and players see how popular lawn mower races become, they might get nervous and reach an agreement sooner. And if they don`t, we can all become lawn mower race fans.  I think I might have to attend an event and see what this is all about.  Today, I might be a mere spectator, but tomorrow -- a champion racer.  How cool would that be?   

www.letsmow.com