University City

Revving up the lawn mowers

Lawn mower races in Ellerbe

Lions Club track, 306 Millstone Road, Ellerbe. 910-417-9537. On Facebook: "Ellerbe Lions Club Lawnmower Racing Fans."

Hours: Aug. 27, Sept. 10 and 24 and other alternating Saturdays into November. Gates open at 4 p.m. inspection/registration is 4-5:30 p.m.; first race begins at 6:30 p.m.

Activities: Think "NASCAR Lite"... very lite. Since 2005, backyard Earnhardts have been racing their Deeres, Craftsmans and other riding lawnmowers competitively in this town just north of Rockingham. The Lions grandstands sometimes draw crowds that exceed Ellerbe's population (about 1,000). Like any motorsport, there are assorted classifications - modified, stock, etc. - and races for each. It's serious fun for drivers and fans. Souped-up mowers can hit speeds of 55 mph and the roar of engines and clouds of spent fuel will be familiar to anyone who drops serious money to view professional racers through binoculars.

Cost: $5; $3 for students (through high school).

Target audience: All ages.

Directions: U.S. 74 east to Rockingham, then U.S. 220 North to the Ellerbe area. Take U.S. 220 Bypass to the Milestone Road Exit. Turn left on Millstone Road; at the second road (watch for an arrow that says "Downtown"), turn left. The track is about 200 yards ahead, on the left.

Travel time from Charlotte: About an hour and 45 minutes.