Most riding lawnmowers can mow grass at speeds up to 6 mph, but the ones operated by members of Rebels and Rednecks aren’t your average John Deere.
The racing group has about 50 members, according to Pam Sizemore, who, alongside husband Joe Sizemore, founded the band of folks who like to fly around dirt tracks on souped-up lawnmowers.
On Saturday, the group took to the track at Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy.
Sizemore said the 50 or so drivers are sorted into classes of competition based on what sort of engine is used by their mower.
Charles Caudill said his machine, which started as a 17 horsepower riding lawnmower, will race around the track at about 60 mph. He gears the mower differently for each track on which he races.
Joe Sizemore said that on the right track his machine can reach speeds of up to 80 mph.
Racers compete for trophies and points, explained Pam Sizemore. At the end of each season, they hold a championship banquet, where awards for the season are handed out to top drivers in each class.
The season keeps drivers pretty busy, added Sizemore. Those who regularly race with the group can expect to compete in Sparta, Galax, Virginia, Hillsville, Virginia, and even the Iredell County fair. They can expect to race about twice every month during the season, which begins in April and wraps up in October.
The racing group has used the dirt track at Veterans Park a number of times. About a year ago, the park board finished up work on the track. A contractor was hired to haul in dirt, and VFW and American Legion members gave a face-lift to bleachers donated by Cooke Rentals to create the venue.
Sizemore said the venue is still relatively new for the drivers, and they hope the sport continues to build momentum at the park.
Sizemore said the average night of races lasts more than three hours. Fun is offered for all ages, as children are frequently called on to the track to race plastic push mowers.
After founding the racing group in 2012, Sizemore said she believes the sport is taking off with area residents.
“It grows a little more each year,” she added. “We want to keep it growing.”
Entry to the race at Veterans Park is $7 for adults, and children under 10 are admitted for $3. A schedule of races may be viewed at www.lawnmower-racing.com, and the group will next appear in Mount Airy on Oct. 21.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.