ELLERBE — The roar of the engines will return to the Lions’ Den this weekend.
The Ellerbe Lions Club lawnmower racing track reopens Saturday under new management for the first race since a U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association national event in May.
New Track Operations Manager Rex Crouch Jr. and Wayne Taylor II, who will officiate races, took their new titles as an opportunity to make changes to the track. Crouch said the straightaways were modified, a turn was widened and the entire track was smoothed out to improve safety.
Crouch said the gates will open at 2 p.m. Saturday with registration and open practice between 2 and 5 p.m. A drivers’ meeting will then be held at 5:30, and heat races will begin at 6.
Crouch said intermission will feature several events for kids such as a Power Wheels race, foot race and sack race and there will also be door prizes given away. The main event will then take place between 7:30 and 8, said Crouch.
The team of Crouch and Taylor succeed Kermit Perkins, who resigned as race manager in a dispute with the Lions Club over concessions sales.
Asked whether the concession controversy would affect attendance, Crouch said, “I don’t think so. The fans and drivers are ready to get back to racing, so I think everything will be good.”
Crouch said funnel cakes, cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples, snow-cones and bacon-wrapped hot dogs will be available for fans to enjoy while watching the riding lawnmowers zip around the track.
This is the first of seven races that will take place in Ellerbe over the next three months. Races are scheduled every two weeks until November.
— Matt Harrelson