Countdown to racing lawn mowers

The lawn mower races will start soon and a quick look around shows the drivers seem more than ready to get racing. Some of the modified mowers are still being unloaded and they are attracting a fair amount of attention.

One festival goer inquired, “Who in the world ever thought about racing lawn mowers?”

The inside skinny according to one of the drivers for Zero Tolerance Racing is that the idea to race lawn mowers got its start in Britain — in a pub. That explanation drew a few chuckles.

The mowers are truly lawn mowers, just souped up to reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour or more. That’s right, 60 miles per hour. The racers take safety precautions — helmets, chest protector vests, fire-retardant racing suits, etc. Today’s races are sanctioned by the American Racing Mower Association, and drivers will be competing for trophies and points toward the national championship.

You will see a variety of lawn mowers competing, some newer models, some older models. They are shorter than a regular mower, lowered to just 4 inches off the ground in order to compete. Many of the tractors have special lettering and flame designs meant to inspire and maybe intimidate other racers. One mower sports the name, “The Reaper.”

The fun begins in the Sam Rand Grandstand at 1 p.m. and continues through 9 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $5. Come check out the races!

About Merrie Go Round

Merrie Go Round is the midway alter-ego of Andrea Ashby, who has officially spent 252 days during the past 24 years at the N.C. State Fair. That's perfect attendance in case you were wondering. In addition to promoting the Fair, looking for untold Fair stories and working on various special events, I also spend a great deal of time roaming the grounds taking photos for the Website and State Fair publications. I like to keep my eyes and ears posted for the unusual and different things that make the State Fair such a great celebration of North Carolina people, traditions and history. I look forward to sharing with you the things I come across on my journey.

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