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Mower racing turns truck driver into weekend warrior

Andy McMahon races his lawn mower around the track at Rutland May Days Saturday. McMahon doesn
Andy McMahon races his lawn mower around the track at Rutland May Days Saturday. McMahon doesn't play any other sports, but lawn mower racing has become a passion of his.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

Most days Andy McMahon is a truck driver who hauls milk products for Dairyland.

But, a few weekends a year, that identity changes. Crowds cheer for him, competitors try to beat him and some little ones even look up to him.

McMahon is a lawn mower racer.

He, along with several others, competed in the lawn mower racing event at the 53rd annual Rutland May Days.

McMahon, who lives in Agassiz, B.C., said that the sport first caught his interest when he watched an event in his hometown.

"I watched them race in Agassiz and I thought it'd be cool to get into," said McMahon.

"I found a mower that cost next to nothing. . .I took it apart, took the cutter head off, changed the pulleys and made it go fast."

The truck driver said that, despite not playing any other sports, he's hooked on lawn mower racing.

"If I can get the time off, I come and race."

According to McMahon, usually 15 to 20 riders show up at events where races are divided into two classes: Stock mowers and modified mowers. They race on an oval track, with similar rules to stock car racing.

Lawn mower racers are in it for the fun, said McMahon. Prizes for winning races usually consist of nothing more than ribbons or trophies.

He said that he is confident that popularity will increase as the sport gets more exposure.

"I think the more people find out about it, the more people will want to get into it. I don't think it's advertised enough."

In his first race of the weekend, McMahon turned in a solid performance and finished first. The next two races saw him finish middle of the pack.

After his third race he looked disappointed.

"I should've had that one. You can't make many mistakes in these races, once you get behind the other guys it's hard to catch up."

The disappointment doesn't linger long, within minutes he's off his mower, chatting with his competitors about the race.

After the weekend concludes, McMahon will head back to Agassiz.

But once he goes back to work and is sitting in his truck, it likely won't be long before he's daydreaming about his next lawn mower race.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

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