The United States Lawn Mower Racing Association has announced it’s annual inductees into the USLMRA National Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame & Museum of America.
Kevin Penne of Lake Villa, Illinois and Mike Miller of Kenosha, Wisconsin, 20 year veterans of the STA-BIL Lawn & Garden Mower Racing Series, will take their rightful place among the pantheon of honored sod stompers and lawn legends including “Turfinator,” “Sodzilla,” “Sir Lawns-A-Lot,” and “Mr. Mowjangles.”
- Kevin “Cooter” Penne
21 years ago Kevin Penne was a spectator at the inaugural STA-BIL Nationals in Grayslake, Illinois on Sept. 5, 1992 when he realized he was on the wrong side of the fence. By the following year he built his first racing mower and began lawn mower racing career, which has seen him become one of the most winning drivers in STA-BIL Racing history. “Cooter” is a pioneer of many the innovations used in the sport today. He designs and builds his own racing engines and chassis, is a 12-time STA-BIL Series National Champion, holds numerous track records and has been featured on Discovery Channel, ESPN2, Fox Sports Net and many TV news programs. Penne has also been banned at every horse track in Ohio.
- Mike “Hedge Hog” Miller
Like Penne, Mike Miller was also a spectator at the first STA-BIL Nationals in 1992 and also knew he had to build a mower and compete. In 1993 Miller met Penne at their first race and one of the longest-lasting friendships in the USLMRA was formed, with “Hedge Hog” driving his 1968 T.S. Rugg to STA-BIL National Championships in 1996, 2005 and 2007. “Hedge Hog” is well known for his consistency and performance in the FX Class. Miller has traveled the country since the formative days of the USLMRA in the early 1990’s helping to fuel the evolution of the sport, its technology and level of competition.
“Congratulations from the Old World, where the origins of mower racing stretch back as far as the blades on the wheels of Boadicea’s chariot, to the New World, where mower racing has reached peaks as yet unimagined by the Englanders, we send greetings and fond memories to our bladeless brethren across the pond,” said Jim Gavin, Founder and General Secretary of the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, and Inaugural Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame Inductee (2009). “From the field of conflict at Lisle, Illinois where our Knights and your Braves battled with howling engines, tortured gears and over-stretched bodies, amongst the dust, rain, mud and general mayhem to weld together two nations with but a single purpose – Per Herbam Ad Astra – From Grass To The Stars!”
The 5th annual National Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies will take place Sunday, Sept. 15 in Delaware, Ohio during the 21st Annual STA-BIL Keeps Gas Fresh Finals Lawn Mower Racing Championships.
Cooter and Hedge Hog will join Hall of Fame Honorees including:
- The Organizing Committee of Indiana’s Twelve Mile 500 America’s oldest lawn mower race founded 1963.
- Jim Gavin of Wisborough Green, England, Founder and General Secretary of the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, founded 1973.
- “Racing Ray” Mrocks, also known as “Sodzilla”, the first USLMRA member, who heeded the call to sod slinging glory on April 1, 1992, the birthday of national lawn mower race sanctioning in the United States.
- Chuck “Boogie Woogie” Miller, the only USLMRA member to compete in every STA-BIL Nationals since 1992.
- Ken “Turfinator” Smolecki whose mower, The Turfinator was featured on the TV sitcom Home Improvement and who raced in the legendary British Lawn Mower Racing Association 12-Hour Race.
- Bill Simpson, who served as the first USLMRA Race Director, adding consistency to race officiating by directing a staff of race stewards and staff.
- John Nelson “Sir Lawns-A-Lot”, the nations’ first “Mow Ambassador” and Past President of the Lone Star Lawn Mower Racing Association (LSMRA).
- Dr. Art Neavill, Commerce Township, Michigan beloved lawn mower racer who tours the country with his son-in-law and wife while intermittently battling cancer.
- Charles Powell, “Mr. Mowjangles” (1950-2006), LSMRA Founding President, Winner of the 2005 Pain in the Butt Award and National Race Steward.
- Gold Eagle® Co. Makers of STA-BIL® Brand Fuel Stabilizer, who brought lawn mower racing from England to America as a promotion for STA-BIL®, America’s top selling fuel stabilizer.
- Bruce Kaufman, “Mr. Mow It All, President of the USLMRA, who leads the USLMRA, the nations’ first and largest national lawn mower racing sanctioning body.
Founded in 2009, the USLMRA National Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame is a place of honor for Turf Titans who have turned a weekend chore into a competitive sport. The USLMRA National Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame & Museum of America is located at Miller Lawn and Power, 1299 Harding Highway East State Road 309, Marion, Ohio.