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THE INSIDE TRACK | The Hot Corner

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

June 18, 1998|BILL DWYRE

What: Lawn-mower racing

I do one thing well as sports editor. I read all my mail. OK, I skim some of it.

Every day brings five pounds more, and the stuff gets stranger and stranger. Once, when I was sports editor of the Milwaukee Journal, someone put a letter on my desk addressed simply: Dear Dummy, Milwaukee Journal. I never forgave my mother for that.

Well, last week, the mail brought proof that the apocalypse is upon us. Also, proof that television has crossed the line in its quest to fill our lives with junk disguised as sporting events.

The mail was from something called the United States Lawn Mower Racing Assn., which was promoting a couple of its races on TNN. That's a cable network on which everybody speaks Tennessee.

I pause here. You may want to digest that last paragraph.

Yes, there is an organization in which people soup up their riding lawn mowers and race them. And yes, somebody decided to put it on TV. The circuit even has slogans, "Where a weekend chore becomes a competitive sport," and my favorite, "The grass is growing and we be mowing."

The Sta-Bil Heartland Mowdown in Elden, Iowa, will be this weekend's Father's Day feature. Another biggie will be the Rocky Mountain Regional July 26 in Cut Bank, Mont. A film crew from Paris is expected, they say, but maybe that's just a lot of fertilizer.

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