Russell a trophy holder in lawnmower racing


by: SUSAN MATHENY/THE PIONEER - Scott Russell shows off his lawnmower blade trophy for winning first place in the region's series. His mower has a V-6 engine.“Lawn Gone” is the name of the prize-winning lawnmower dragster owned by Scott Russell of Madras.

Last year, Russell won first place for the season with his drag strip mower, which is equipped with a V-6 Buick motor and uses racing fuel. For safety, the vehicle has a roll bar and a “wheely wheels” rack in back to keep it from tipping over.

“It will do over 100 mph, but has stock lawn mower tires, so it’s not a real comfortable ride,” Russell said.

He proudly showed the trophy from last season – a painted mower blade with a toy lawnmower glued on top, which reads, “A Cut Above the Rest.”

Russell, who owns Omar Industries farm equipment repair in Madras, said his racing team includes his driver Larry Marshall, and mechanic Rick Olkowski. Their sponsors include Big Foot Beverages of Bend and Eugene, and Anglers Restaurant and Lounge in Wamic.

“I drove the race mower once and totaled it. It was just a mangled pile of metal, so I quit driving,” he confessed. Now he sticks to building the vehicle.

He said mowers race the 100-foot-long drag strip in 2 seconds, going 60 mph.

The “Sportsman’s Grass Car Racing” season is just getting started at the circle track and drag strip in Wamic, where they compete. Races run April 20 through Sept. 21, at 56826 Wamic Market Road.

Racers also travel to competitions in Estacada, California, and Washington, and race at the Sherman, Wasco and Lincoln County fairs.

There are usually 20-30 mowers per race, with drivers from age 7 to 70 behind the wheel competing in either circle track or drag races. Most of the racers are ranchers, but some come from the Portland area.

The Wamic events were organized by Randy Marshall, 65, a Wamic cattleman, who was a linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1970s.

“It’s a national sport and real big in the Midwest and South. The circle track guys will spend $5,000 on a 12-horse Briggs and Stratton,” Russell said, noting, “It has to have a stock block.”

When asked if there were any competitors from Gateway, which is known for its annual Fourth of July Parade featuring lawnmowers, Russell said he’d like to enter the parade.

“I can’t run in parades because the mower won’t go slow enough and I have to keep riding the brake. But I could take it on a trailer,” he said.

Anyone wanting to view some Sportsman’s Grass Car Racing can catch up with the racers May 18 or June 15, at noon, in Wamic. For more information, contact Randy Marshall at HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 541-980-8923.