Animal rides to victory for kids
There were several stars of this year’s
O¯ mokoroa lawn mowing champs, but only one racer captured the hearts and imaginations of the event’s youngest spectators.
Animal, from The Muppets fame, showcased aggressive racing skills at Sunday’s O¯ mokoroa
No1 School Lawn Mower Racing Gala. While Animal rode down the fence line giving high-fives to the crowds of children, fellow racer Cookie Monster took to the track.
Barry Dawe, the man inside the Cookie Monster helmet, said afterwards the Muppet heads were part of injecting more fun into the sport.
“Everyone started taking racing far too seriously and I thought I’d try to lighten up the mood,” he said.
“It’s all about the fun. The competition is secondary.”
Dawe is secretary of Bay of Plenty Lawn Mower Racing and has been racing for 10 years. With no suspension in the mower, racing was like riding a bucking bronco, he said.
“It’s hard work. I guess you could call it low-cost motorsport. And it’s a hell of a laugh.”
Mike Evans, the man who brought Animal to the track, echoed Dawe’s sentiment.
“It’s all about the fun. If you win, you win. If you don’t, keep trying.”
Evans is from Cambridge but said the O¯ mokoroa race was the big event of the year for him.
The day was also the school’s big fundraiser of the year, with live entertainment, fire brigade demonstrations, stalls, rides and food trucks.
Tauranga mum Rebecca Aldrige said the event was a perfect family day out and it was good to be able to support the local community.
“It’s great. Our guys love watching the racing. They have their favourites.”
Among those favourites, Animal was number one.
Mike Evans, racing as Animal, said taking part was “all about the fun”.
Kayluim Summer, racing as Super Mario.