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Denair racers mow through competition
Denairs Eric Borba finished in third place and Shelby Steeley (right) placed fifth in Fridays lawnmower races at the Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Lawns across the state are going brown due to the drought, freeing up lawn mowers and their drivers for more competitive tasks, like racing at the Stanislaus County Fair.

That was the sight of Friday's motorsport action for the 2015 Stanislaus County Fair.

Denair locals were well represented at the 2015 WGAS Lawnmower division races with Stuart Cancimilla, Eric Borba and Shelby Steeley competing.

Former Pitman High graduate and current Denair native Cancimilla nabbed first place by a solid margin after taking over during the third lap.

“It was good until the end. I just wish it would’ve held on for the donut ,” said Cancimilla.

Just behind him in third and fifth place were a pair of Denair locals, Borba [3rd] and Steeley [5th].

“I didn’t do too well. I had not raced in over a year, but if I would have more practice then I think I could’ve done better but it doesn’t matter if you win or lose it’s still a lot of fun,” Steeley said.

Cancimilla was first introduced to the sport back in 2006 while in an agricultural class at Pitman and since then his love for the sport has flourished.

“Me and some friends would race in ag class and since then I just built it more extreme every year ,” he said.

Although he had not raced in nearly half a year, Cancimilla knew that doing the best he could in his home track was self-motivating and he did not let down.

“It helps that I am a local because the local ones are always the best because you get people rooting for you,” said Cancimilla, who drove his V-twin engine that produces about 50 horsepower. “I've been getting everything prepped right.”

Steeley, 22, and Borba, 17, who are the niece and nephew of Bounty Hunter’s Russell Steeley, have been going strong with the sport for over four years each but decided to end their careers after finishing Friday’s races.

“It’s fun, but I’m sad its ending,” Steeley said about retiring from lawnmower races

“It was a joy to have them while we did have them,” Borba said after finishing third. “My dad got tired of them and we will probably get into something bigger like Tough Trucks or something, but it's all in time. It’s a little saddening because it’s a great sport, it's fun, extremely fun.

“It has been a fun career and it was a fun final race since we're selling them after this,” Borba added. “Seems like all the lawn mower racing has depleted away and everyone just dispersed, but everything has an end.”