Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 17, 2013

Raceland festival a crowd pleaser

Organizers say 2013 Race Days biggest yet

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

RACELAND — The crowds at Raceland Race Days, which wrapped up Saturday night, were the biggest yet, according to organizers.

The festival, entering its second decade, has grown in popularity every year and is quickly outgrowing its home in the city park, said Raceland Police Chief Don Sammons.

“You couldn’t beat the weather,” Sammons said. He said the organizing committee, of which he is a member, may have to consider expanding the festival to another site in town next year. “The circus has kind of outgrown the tent,” he said. “We’ve had a lot going on today.” 

The crowd was steady Saturday afternoon for the parade, stick-horse derby and crowd-pleasing lawn-mower races, but large numbers were expected for evening performances by Elvis tribute artist Brian Breener and the Beatles tribute and impersonation act Abbey Road.  

Among the highlights of the afternoon was the lawn-mower competition.  

Zack Litteral, 18, who rode the “lady bug lawn mower,” said racing is all about “going out and having a good time and putting on a show for the crowd. It’s just fun.”

Saturday’s event was a good practice race ahead of the upcoming Greenup County Fair, Litteral added, noting many competitors at Raceland will face off again at the fair.

“You can go a little bit faster here than you can at the fair,” said Kyle Smith, 25, who’s been racing about four years. “You can really push that mower to the limit.”

The secret to Raceland’s course, he said, is “going real fast in the straight stretches and not slowing down too much in the turns.” He encouraged others to try the sport.

Kyle Broughton, 9, was among the spectators at the mower event.  “I think it is cool and it is awesome,” he said, adding he’d like to race one some day.

Danny Howell organizes the event as well as participates. He said like Race Days, the mower races grow in popularity every year.

The event has become a tradition for his family. Danielle Howell, 21, grew up around the sport and now participates as well.

“Everybody enjoys it,” she said. “I can watch my family do it because everyone is in it.”

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.