By Justin Seward
While converting lawn tractors into racers is not a new concept in 4-H club circles across Canada, its a new project the North Forty 4-H Club has taken on since learning about the changeover in a club exchange over the summer.
The local 4-H club had an exchange with an Ontario 4-H club back in the summer and discussions came up from the eastern Canada club about lawn mower tractor pulling as one project.
The North Forty Mile group also found out about from them that there were clubs further east that were doing lawn mower racing.
“We decided to start one step below lawn mower tractor pulling and something that wouldn’t be quite as involved first year and went with lawn mower racing,” said Curtis Bouw, project manager for the North Forty Mile 4-H Club.
A select few of the 4-H members have taken on the task to take a stock lawn mower and modifying the machine to how they see fit and following the rules.
“They start out with lowering it, making the track width wider for more stability and the rest is modifications for safety and speed,” said Gouw.
“We’ll have races kind of like around oval tracks or short road courses, mainly on dirt.”
Gouw says the project was a good opportunity for the club because not all of its members wants or can keep livestock at their place and there are kids that are not interested in livestock.
Most of the members have their tractors and some of them have started working on them, he added.
Gouw is anticipating that a tractor test run will be done in the spring to see if there needs to be any find tuning that needs to be done before the Achievement Day race in the early summer.
Curtis’ son and North Forty Mile 4-H Club member Erik says the lawn mower project will be a great learning opportunity to know how the tractor works.
“It’s them learning more about how everything works in it,” said Erik.
“How the motors work, how they make them drive it and gets some learning into that while making it so it’s fun while doing it.”
Erik says that there are a lot of members that are really excited and can’t wait until they start the project and racing.
He hopes the kids learn about mechanics, welding and fabrication while they build their tractors.
Curtis said “I would like to see seven, eight, nine clubs in southern Alberta doing this and having mower racing events and lawn tractor pulling events.”