Elks’ lawnmower race more popular than ever before

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | The Elks Lodge in Riverhead held its final lawnmower race of the season Sunday.

A misty October Sunday might not be the best time to spend an afternoon on a lawnmower. But for the folks who race lawnmowers around the dirt track at the Riverhead Elks Lodge, the conditions were perfect.

The track was just slick enough to keep the dust from flying as a dozen racers zipped around the course on ride-on lawnmowers.

Co-organizers Tom Lescenski and Tom Grodski started the races in 2001. Following noise complaints from neighbors, the group took a brief hiatus several years ago, but now they say the races are more popular than ever.

“The races are growing,” Mr. Lescenski said. “We get more and more mowers each year.”


The Riverhead Elks Lodge held its final lawnmower race of the season Sunday with more than 100 people in attendance. From April through October the organization holds at least four competitions to raise money for the Elks building and its programs.

As the popularity of lawnmower racing has grown in recent years, people have come to think of it as a motor sport. Competitors often craft their own motors, keeping the original engines, but removing the blades for safety.

And it’s not just for the boys.

Racer Lauren Kollen participated for a second time on Sunday after her husband and friends encouraged her to join the competition.

“I like to do different things,” she said. “We’re kind of motorheads. so I figured, ‘Why not try it?’ There are so many people here that know me and are behind me.”

As the Elks race season ended Sunday, the racers were already looking ahead.

“We’re looking forward to more mowers and more fun next year,” Mr. Lescenski said.

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