Lawn mowers on the cutting edge

If you are, or have been, the parent of a teenager, look at the photograph on this story. Have you ever seen a high school student who looked so happy while mowing the lawn?

That's not knocking teens; I'm sure there are many who are willing and outstanding caretakers of the family lawn. But I've never seen a teen break into a dance when asked to cut the grass. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Maybe the key is to make it a group activity, as in the photograph, or to combine it with music. Or simply to leave the grass out of the equation altogether - just guys having fun with noisy equipment. The teenagers in the photo seem to be enjoying themselves, but I don't see any grass getting mowed.

I learned of the existence of precision lawn mower drill teams a few years back when a member of the Arcola, Ill., Lawn Rangers got in touch to tell me about his "world famous" group. They and their mowers are, he said, frequently invited to march in parades.

But mower owners aren't just parading, they're also racing. In fact, so many men (and a handful of women) are racing their mowers that they've formed organizations. There's a British Lawn Mower Racing Association, the North American Society of Grass Racers and Sod Slingers (NASGRASS), and the US Lawn Mower Racing Association, whose motto is: We turn a weekend chore into a competitive sport.

Mower racing must be a growing activity. USLMRA's website ( reports that next month the Discovery Channel will air a one-hour documentary, "Turf Rockets: The Cutting Edge."

Mowing obviously has pageantry and prestige these days, but as a mother, I still have to ask: Why isn't the grass getting cut?

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