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Racing Lawn Mowers in Upper Dauphin County - abc27 WHTM

Racing Lawn Mowers in Upper Dauphin County

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For most homeowners, time spent on a riding mower involves a lawn. It's like a manicure for grass.

But, once a year in Upper Dauphin County, the only thing these mowers cut is time... off their laps.

Brian "Skip" Deeter, director of a new race track next to the Wiconisco Fire Company, says lawn mower racing is only getting bigger. "A very big sport. Fastest growing sport in the country," said Deeter.

It's called lawn mower racing. It features souped up riding mowers,minus the blades, racing around small dirt tracks.

"It tests a lot of mechanical ability. A lot of driving ability," said Deeter. "It's just a good family fun sport."

The racing on this Sunday afternoon was sanctioned by the American Racing Mower Association, the overseers of races held at tracks all around the country. Skip Deeter's family brought the novel competition to Wiconisco four years ago.

"I have people here from Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida," said Deeter.

Mike Collins was there from Strafford, New Hampshire with his family and his race team.

"Everyone's here to win, but that's not the whole reason that everyone's here," said Collins. "Everyone's here to have a good time."

Race heats are classified by engine power, with some mowers able to top 50 mph. Adults and youth race separetley, but men and women are equals when the green flag drops. Ashley Crowl, along with her sister and mom, travels the country shooting for a national championship.

"I've been racing for ten years and I've only managed to get second," said the Bellaire, Maryland resident. "I've never managed first, so this is pretty important to me to be able to get first."

The starting age for this sport is ten. Elijah Reed, nicknamed "cheese," is twelve. He says racing mowers is perfect for young boys.

"I get to blow off some steam. It's fun." said the first year racer. "Plus, I have some competition."

Although the sport features fun and competition, safety is stressed through strict rules and proper protection. Yes, there's an occasional spill. And some vehicles will need a lift. But for everyone racing, and all those watching, it's a winning day.

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