At most New Year’s Eve parties, people schmooze with friends, sip champagne and smooch at the stroke of midnight. At the party I attended, much of the same happened, but this year I also had the good fortune of experiencing Lawn Mower Racing Karma. That’s because I walked into a room where a few people were talking, and one of those people was Mr. Mow-It-All himself – Bruce Kaufman, president of the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association.
Actually, I had never heard of Mr. Mow-It-All before, but I believe it was good karma and not an unfortunate accident that I met Bruce. And many of you know why – he has a passion for his organization and a knack for proMOWting it to the world.
At the party, I told Bruce that I was a freelance writer who loves people stories, and that’s when I started to find out just how people-focused USLMRA really is. Soon after my first encounter with Bruce, I became a new writer for the organization and started reading any information I could get my hands on (and there is plenty), watching videos and talking to members to find out more about the greatest show on turf.
How Karma Happens
So that’s how I joined the organization, and as I started talking to some Lawn Stars (and all of you are lawn stars), I began hearing stories about how current members first found out about USLMRA. Kerry Evans, vice president of USLMRA, first heard about it from a few guys shooting the breeze in a hardware store parking lot near Mobile, Ala. Manny Torres, engine tinkerer and Maryland resident, heard about it at a lawn mower store. Pat Sullivan, landscaper extraordinaire in Florida, saw a story about lawn mower racing on the local news, and now he and about a dozen other family members are racing and winning national championships.
Those are great examples of Lawn Mower Racing Karma, which explains how USLMRA generates so much enthusiasm. It also shows how infectious the idea of lawn mower racing can be. I learned that once people catch the bug, they’re hooked. Now, there are more than 700 USLMRA racers nationwide hailing from 37 states, coast-to-coast, lawn-to-lawn.
Mow To Come
Besides what Manny calls “the fellowship” of the organization, where “everyone cares about each other,” and the growing popularity of the sport, which according to Tina Paccione (Sullivan’s daughter and fellow racer) “was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen,” here are a few points of interest that stand out for me.
It’s not about the money. No one competes for money – just plastic trophies and bragging rights. According to Manny, “This saves the sport from people getting greedy.”
USLMRA has more puns than any organization I’ve ever heard of – everything related to grass, lawns, sod, weeds, blades and mowing. When I told Kerry that Bruce sent me three pages of puns, he responded by asking, “What other organization even has one pun?”
There is strong potential for continued growth as more people catch the racing bug. Tina would like to see more local chapters in more parts of the country compete, so more people can experience “the fun that extends way beyond the racing.” It’s all about community.
What do you think makes USLMRA rock? In future articles, I want to write about your successes, challenges, great people stories, humorous tales, favorite puns, whatever – the mow the merrier. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!