As Founder and President of the USLMRA, Bruce Kaufman is on the “cutting edge” of American motorsports. With his tongue planted firmly in cheek, the man they call Mr. Mow-It-All knows that his unlikely journalism career was tailor made for him. “I’ve always been a casual motorsports fan, but for the past 19 years I’ve been ‘mowtivated’ to immerse myself in all types of motorsports and marketing that make small brands grow.”
The USLMRA is the nation’s oldest and largest National Lawn Mower Racing Sanctioning Body. There are more than 500 USLMRA members nationwide including Turfinator, the Lawn Ranger, Ace of Blades, Mowdacious and Prograsstinator. USLMRA racing is televised on Fox Sports Net and has been featured on the Discovery Channel, ESPN2 and on the hit ABC TV show Home Improvement. Speeds reach 60 mph with all cutting blades removed.
Kaufman by trade is a public relations and event marketing professional with solid writing chops dating back to his childhood. “My career path is basically a story of following my interests, pursuing my passions, working hard and being lucky sprinkled with a little dash of Grateful Dead philosophy,” said the 1982 Journalism graduate of Northern Illinois University (NIU).
Kaufman knew the owners of Chicago-based Gold Eagle Co before they came to him with a novel idea in the summer of 1991. “I knew we had a winner within the first week of announcing the USLMRA to the world on April Fools Day 1992,” added Kaufman. “We got coverage in the New York Times, Los Angles Times, Wall Street Journal and the USA Today, and we were off to the races.”
The USLMRA is a motorsports sanctioning body. Kaufman is responsible for administrative management, event and TV production, race day operations, staffing, venue and media relations, membership, contracts, marketing, sponsorship, finance, insurance, human resources and budgeting.
Kaufman has received awards including Gold Pinnacle, Media Relations, International Festivals & Events Association; Golden Trumpet, Marketing, Publicity Club of Chicago; Outstanding Public Relations Tactics – Video News Release, Public Relations Society of America; Gold Award: Sports and Event Marketing, Brandweek magazine; and Outstanding Creativity Award, Inside PR magazine.
During the past ten years, Mr. Mow-It-All has expanded his experience to the broadcast side, becoming the TV color commentator and track host for the USLMRA TV shows airing on Fox Sports Net. Broadcast journalism is a lot of fun too,” said Kaufman. “Knowing the sport and our racers so well, it makes sense to put my gift of gab to good use. Plus, my kids think it’s cool to see daddy on TV.”
“I feel so lucky,” said Kaufman. “To use my talents to promote a family-owned company like Gold Eagle and a growing brand like STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer, it’s a real David vs. Goliath marketing story. I pinch myself.”
When pressed to give a favorite career story, Kaufman thinks long and hard. “I guess my favorite story was when lawn mower racing was featured on the front page of the New York Times in 2000. For a motorsports journalist, it was like winning the Borg-Warner Trophy, the Stanley Cup and the Vince Lombardi Trophy all at once.”
Kaufman married his wife Debbie on Halloween 1987, after a chance meeting on a Friday the 13th at the bar across the street from his office. Mr. and Mrs. Mow-It-All have three kids, Zoe Ari and Lee and a toad named Sodzilla. Kaufman owns a push mower, but like the racing mowers, it has no blades.