Ready, set, MOW! Fredericktown, MO becoming hub for lawn mower racing

Ready, set, MOW! Fredericktown, MO becoming hub for lawn mower racing

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) - You might usually dread getting out on the lawn mower during hot summer days, but others use them in a different way - the competitive sport of racing.

Fredericktown is a hub for lawn mower racing in Southeast Missouri.

"They come from all over, they come from Patton, they come from Farmington, Ste. Gen, Cape Girardeau, it's kind of a big area, Park Hills, Bismark up in that area, so they come from that direction." Driver Vince O'Brien said.

Adam Whited has been involved with the sport of racing lawn mowers since 2008.

He said the sport has come a long way with national races in places like Alabama and Ohio.

"It's evolved a lot, you used to be able to just swap the pulleys, put a throttle on it, foot throttle, hand throttle whatever you can find bicycles or whatever have maybe $60 bucks in em' now they're going full blown," Whited  said.

"People have [tens of thousands of dollars] in their motors to just go fast. I've seen them reach the speeds of 80 mph in 200 ft stretches."

He used to race lawn mowers but now he announces and flags drivers at the lawn mower races.

Whited said it's his friend that got him into the sport of renovating lawn mowers for competition.

"He said 'hey man, let's make a low rider out of a lawn mower' and I thought he was kind of dumb you know, [but] he brought the lawn mower out and we put it on the ground, got it looking cool," Whited said.

"And then we found out you can make it look fast and it's been since 2008 that we've been racing together."

While fixing your lawnmower may be a chore for some, for others, it's a good time.

"A lot of these guys, they just love doing it - it don't matter how much money they put into it, it's so much fun when they come down here and take something designed to cut grass and go faster than you're average car."

Whited said he thinks having something to look forward to was what helped him form a good environment.

"Growing up in a small town, and having bad friends and good friends, when your friends get you into something like this that keeps you out of doing bad things, [like] drugs and alcohol -  that probably kept me out of a lot trouble, and it brought me and my friends together and my family doing this."

O'Brien said one thing he wants people to know when it comes to this sport is the importance of being safe.

"Be safe, make sure you have all of your safety equipment, make sure the mowers are safe to be out there so nobody gets hurt."

Racers compete every other Saturday from spring until the fall. Benefits go towards an event center planning to be built in the area.

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