published: Sunday, July 28, 2013
AP MowerPlex under new management
By BARRY FOSTER
AVON PARK -- Fans can expect great things this year at the Avon Park MowerPlex. That's the word from a new management team that has taken over at America's first for-purpose lawn mower racing facility. They started late last year and have spent much of the summer planning for the upcoming season.
"We are looking toward increased participation both by drivers and fans from throughout the state," said Wes Pyburn.
Pyburn and business partner Sean Kennedy assumed operation of the raceway in April, overseeing the last two events of the season. The pair said they love lawn mower racing and the City of Charm and believe the Avon Park track represents a great draw to participants across the state.
"I have been told that there are drivers who are putting together mowers right now," Pyburn said. "We have been contacted from as far away as Georgia with guys asking for our schedule and when we plan to start."
The first event of the season has been set for Sept. 7.
Although the competition was dominated last year by drivers from Highlands, Hardee and Polk counties, there were others that came from Fort Meyers, Venice, Punta Gorda and Merritt Island to run the oval at the westernmost end of the Avon Park Municipal Airport.
"We want to do some more marketing and advertising," Pyburn said. "Last season there were just bunches of people who said they had never been out here or hadn't been out here for years. They started coming regularly and some even brought friends the next time they came."
Pyburn and Kennedy promised that their goal would be to keep prices affordable and the entertainment family-friendly.
"In fact, our first race will be a 'Family Night,'" said Pyburn. "There will be a little 'train' for the kids to ride, a race for kids where they can run their 'power wheels' on the track and we are working on some other stuff for them, too. We are talking about maybe having an autograph time and of course we'll have a lot of good racing. It should be a really great night."
He said more information and some "big announcements" are planned next month at the racer's annual banquet.
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