Heart of Louisiana: Lawnmower racing
Ronnie Henry of the Cajun Mower Racing Association says, "These ain't cutting the grass, they're long past cutting the grass. This is an SP-class, highly modified; it turns over 8,000 RPM and can go around 50 miles an hour. We have some guests out here with us so watch out, don't run over 'em."
They take off the mower blades, add a new throttle, change the gear ratio, and sometimes they put in bigger engines. And then they hit the dirt track at Kershaw's RV Park in Lake Charles for a weekend of races.
Henry says, "We don't race for money, we don't race for no big bucks. All we race for is a little bragging rights and a little trophy."
Henry is the defending champ in the Cajun Mower Racing Association. "It's kind of like being out of control but totally in control the whole time," he tells us.
These small racers bounce and slide around the dirt track at speeds of 30 to 50 miles an hour.
Henry says, "There's no suspension system on these mowers so you feel it all over the place. It's a lot of fun. It's just hilarious how thrilling it is, an adrenaline rush all the way."
And it's a way to enjoy the thrill of victory without defeating the family budget.
Racer Bryan Reddin says, "I've always enjoyed racing and this is about as close as I'll ever come to it."
Reddin of Lake Charles has been racing lawnmowers for three years. His mower and the ones he races against have stock engines.
Reddin says, "So it makes everybody run close race. It comes down to driving skill and thinking ahead and planning your race."
It also helps to be in the right position to shoot past another driver, if he takes a turn a little too wide.
These lawnmower races are a big deal. They hold events like this in nearly every state in the country. And by racing here, the riders have a chance to qualify to compete nationally.
It's somewhere in between mowing the lawn and NASCAR.
Reddin says, "I wish I had a faster mower when I mow the grass."
For these lawnmower racers, it's all about who gets the checkered flag.
The Cajun mower racers have several weekend competitions throughout the spring and summer at Kershaw's Cajun Village in Lake Charles. To get more information, go online to http://www.mowrace.com.