SPL-PT070518 TwelveMile500 01.jpg

Cullen Ulerick (25) leads the pack through the gate with Mark Troyer (2) close behind in the modified division of the 56th annual Twelve Mile 500 last year. Fran Ruchalski | Pharos-Tribune file art

The biggest little town in the USA, Twelve Mile, and the Twelve Mile Indiana Lions Club will host the 57th annual running of the Twelve Mile 500 Lawnmower race on Thursday, July 4th and is looking to younger members for different ideas and how to get new racers involved.

(See the Twelve Mile 500's Facebook page, Twelve Mile500 Lawnmower Race, for directions, qualification results, rules, history, plus pictures from last year’s race).

In last year's event, Randy Troyer cemented his legacy as the greatest driver in Twelve Mile 500 history, going out on top with his 12th all-time win in the Modified race. Longtime driver Jerome Emery of Twelve Mile brought home his first checkered flag with a dominant showing in the Briggs Division.

Technology will again count the laps in both races. Each mower will carry a transponder registering their completion of a lap as they cross the start/finish line. This system has proved to be a great improvement over the manual lap counting used in the past.

The club qualified over 30 mowers in two classes and still has room in each class for more on race day. Drivers will need to have their mower in the park and signed up by noon that day.

Four cycle Briggs engine mowers will compete in the Briggs race, a great beginner’s spot, while 2 cycle engine powered mowers run in the Modified Class. Both are exciting to watch and no two are exactly the same.

Twelve Mile also has a great equalizer, a speed limit! Now you ask, why does a race have a speed limit? Simple answer, safety for drivers and fans! Many other tracks are a fraction of the size of Twelve Mile’s quarter mile and do not have the number of curves or obstacles that face drivers at Plank Hill Park. From the 90-degree home plate to the trees, drivers compete against the track as well as the other drivers.

There is plenty of straightaway to let any driver reach speeds fast enough to cause injury if something goes wrong. A driver caught speeding or driving recklessly will find his number on the black flag board along with a Lions member waving the black flag at the offending racer.

A trip through a penalty pass area where they stop briefly and have their number logged before continuing onto the track but not passing the start finish line costs them a half a lap. Another risk is that after four such penalties the racer is disqualified and has to exit the race. This helps to keep speeds down and hopefully mishaps also. The pit stops are also tracked, as racers have to make a minimum of three.

There will be more than racing going on in Twelve Mile. On Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd, at 4 p.m. there will be a 3 on 3 basketball tourney followed at 7:30 with Corinth Brethren Church hosting a talent show with free food and water while supplies last. The fireworks will light up the sky at dusk. Donations can be given at Community State Bank in Twelve Mile for next year’s fireworks show.

On Thursday the 4th, the parade starts uptown at 11:30 a.m. and activities then move to Plank Hill Park with the first race starting at 1 p.m. The next race is scheduled for 2:30.

There will be plenty of vendors available and feel free to park uptown and walk in with your chairs to avoid the congestion in the park. Fun for the whole family, admission is $5 for adults, $1 for ages 6-12 and under 6 get in free. Hope to see you there.

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