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July 5, 2012

Showdown at the mow-down

Owens, Troyer, Zimpleman take Twelve Mile titles

TWELVE MILE — John Troyer has a most “mow-tivating” story.

Though he’s a member of the “First Family of Mowing,” for the first 20 years of his lawnmowing racing career he came up empty.

But on the 50th running of the Twelve Mile 500 Wednesday, Troyer recorded a win in the Super Stock division for the second straight year, adding to his family’s impressive haul of Twelve Mile titles.

“Yeah it does feel good,” Troyer said, “after 20 years of eating dust and black flags.”

The Twelve Mile 500 is the oldest lawnmower race in the nation. The Twelve Mile Lions Club holds the event, which raises money for upkeep at Plank Hill Park and for the town of Twelve Mile.

Dean Owens won the Briggs division for his fifth Twelve Mile title in his 38th running of the event, which is a record. His five titles trail only Randy Troyer’s 10.

“It was just as exciting as it was the first year,” said Owens, whose first title came in 1976.

“For me it’s kind of a tradition. My family’s been doing it for quite a few years. My dad was one of the race drivers at one time. So it’s just a family tradition for me. Of course I like to coming out here racing with the Troyers.”

Greg Zimpleman took the title in the Modified division, his first Twelve Mile title. The 2000 Caston grad recently picked lawnmower racing back up after competing in stock car racing for a time.

“It feels good to finally beat a Troyer,” he said.

As for the advantages of racing mowers to cars, Zimpleman, of Fulton, said, “It takes a lot less money and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve got my son here and he’ll probably run one, one of these days.

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