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July 5, 2013

A golden day

Young and old shine at 50th annual Twelve Mile 500

TWELVE MILE — Lawns have been lush with all of the rainfall this year.

So the lawnmower racers were well-prepared and ready to put on a show for the 50th annual Twelve Mile 500 Thursday at Plank Hill Park.

Two youngsters and an old-timer ended up taking the checkered flags at the Greatest Spectacle in Mowing.

John Troyer, who’s been around since push reel mowers were in vogue, won the Super Stock division. Meanwhile, Purdue University student Cole Calloway won the Briggs division, and Peru High School student Darren Ulerick took the Modified division.

The Super Stock race had the most entertaining finish. In fact when it ended Troyer wasn’t even sure he had won.

Troyer and his nephew John Troyer trailed by nearly a full lap on the last lap when the co-leaders got tangled up, causing a red flag and one more lap.

Troyer ended up passing his nephew during the extra lap to take home his third straight win in the event.

“When we crossed that finish line I really didn’t think I’d won,” Troyer said. “I knew it was a possibility; I really didn’t think I had won.

“Wow, it was a wild finish and fun. It’s kind of unfortunate for the guys that were a lap ahead of us. I’ve been there.”

The Troyers are members of the First Family of Mowing, and this time an elder statesman won.

“He had a minor mechanical problem which I did not know,” Troyer said. “He was still running real good laps despite that. He ran a real good race.”

Troyer is slowly but surely catching up to his brother Randy’s record of 10 Twelve Mile titles.

Randy finished fourth in the Briggs division and 12th in the Modified division Thursday and is in a bit of a championship drought.

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