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Not for mowing
Races put lawn equipment to the test
Lawn Mower Races
Eric Borba of Denair gives the judges the ok sign after flipping his lawn mower over during the second heat of Fridays lawnmower races at the Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

High powered motorsports action continued this past Friday with lawn mower races at the 2014 Stanislaus County Fair.

Thousands of fans gathered at the Food Maxx Arena for action-packed excitement as stock and modified lawnmowers took on some tough terrain, with locals faring well.

Among the locals were Eric Borba and Shelby Steeley of Denair, both of whom competed at the stock level, with Borba topping out in first place two years prior and Steeley taking second place last year in the event.

“Everyone says girls can’t race… well I am going to prove them wrong and show them what’s up,” said Steeley. “This is my third year here and last year I was inches from winning, it was crazy.”

Steeley, who is also the only female competitor at the 2014 lawn mower event, fared well but had some troubles with her car early on but it didn’t stop her from participating in the second heat.

“After the first heat something was not right so my dad is checking out the car before we move on further,” Steeley said.

Borba, who began racing five years, explains that his love for racing came at an unexpected time in an unexpected fashion.

“I came home one day about five years ago and saw a rusted old mower in the back and I was wondering what that was all about and then mentioned to my dad that I wanted to start racing lawn mowers and it’s been a family tradition now,” Borba said.

Borba, who failed to place in the top three in 2013, returned for action this year and topped out in first place after just the first heat, but flipped his car over and had problems with it in the second heat and failed to finish.

“It’s the drifting around the corners; you get drifted sideways and you can see someone coming behind you and you floor it again,” said Borba. “It’s the speed and all of it that is so fun. All the racers are all competitive. We are also all friends on the pit, but once the race starts we are all racers.”

Both Borba and Steeley hope to continue racing lawn mowers and encourage people to come out and see what it's all about.

“It’s crazy because I never thought I would want to race anything, but then I got out here and I thought it was so awesome,” said Steeley. “Everyone thinks it’s a crazy sport and when I share it with other people they do not believe it and I just say they need to come out to believe it. No one believes that lawn mowers can be in a race, everyone says or assumes you just push them.

“My sister who is 10 wants to start as well and so we will wait till she is old enough but it is great to be a role model for her,” Steeley added.