One your mark, get set, Mow! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

One your mark, get set, Mow!

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February 5, 2006

Berlin- Super Bowl activity in the Motor City was of no interest to the sport enthusiasts who turned Berlin into the Mowtor City Sunday for the STA-BIL Winternationals Lawn Mower Races. It was the second stop on this sod slinging weekend of races.

Engines roared as these Turf Titans took to the track in Berlin. These machines have been modified to move instead of mow.

"Bullet fly-wheel, custom rods, custom pistons, you name it it's got it, anything you can do to it," said George Herrin, Racer.

"Basically what you want to do is keep the law mower weight down, 200 pounds or less," said Becky Kuhfeldt, Racer.

You need a seat belt for these mowers that reach speeds over 60 miles per hour, making them more than your average lawn mower.

"I needed the chassis worse than I needed the grass cutter, I cut the grass with it and even though it cut the grass really good, I needed the racing mower worse, I done wrecked one, so I had to build another one," said Herrin.

George Herrin is the reigning National Champion racing in one of the two fastest classes. Becky Kuhfeldt is just getting started.

"For a living, I use to gut grass to pay for my first car when I was in high school, and then back in 2003 I saw the lawnmower racing on TV and I told my husband that looks like a lot of fun," said Kuhfeldt.

A lot of fun for the only woman racing in the fastest class, FX or Factory Experimental because you can do just about anything to this mower go.

"The most exciting part is being on the track, going around the track and going as fast as I can and getting the thrill out of that," said Kuhfeldt.

Some of these mower can reach top speeds.

"I've run 91, I've outrun a pack of Harley's with it," said Herrin.

The best thing about this sport however seems to be the comrades.

"You meet a lot of new people and you become family, you get to know people and all about them and their families," said Kuhfeldt.

Racers compete for points, trophies and bragging rights. Most racers will compete in up to 15 racers a year. The average cost of one of these modified lawn mowers, around six thousand dollar.

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