Can lawn mower racing save lives?

The Great Lakes State will be on the “Cutting Edge” of American motorsports as the annual STA-BIL Lawn & Garden Mower Racing Series fundraising race for Huntington’s disease research returns to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the 3rd weekend in July turf battle.

Sod stompers from across the nation will kick grass at the 10th annual event renamed the “Jim Keech Memorial Race for Huntington’s Disease Research” in honor of racer Jim “Kemowsod” Keech who passed away earlier this year.

The event will feature racing mower action on riding lawn mowers with all cutting blades removed at speeds up to 60 mph. Racers compete for points, trophies and bragging rights rather than cash prizes and grass kickers from as far as Ontario, Canada will tear up the turf at the Sparta Airport, 9100 Vinton N.W. in Sparta, Michigan. Racing starts at 5:00 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM on Sunday. Admission is $5.00 for those 12 years and up. Gates open at 9:00 AM with racing at 1:00 PM. The event is hosted by Four Seasons Yard and Sport Equipment and the Michigan Lawn Mower Racing Association (MILMRA).ng Association (USLMRA), which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2012, and is sponsored by STA-BIL®, America’s top selling fuel stabilizer.

The weekend will kick off with the Michigan Premiere of the new documentary “On Your Mark, Get Set, MOW! A Tale of Hope, Redemption and Lawn Mower Racing” by independent filmmaker Mike Ratel, Friday, July 20th 8:00pm at Sparta High School 475 W. Spartan Dr. Sparta, Michigan. Admission is free.

The film follows the Mikula family of Sparta as they use the sport of lawn mower racing to raise money to benefit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). Much of the film takes place in Sparta. The Mikula family has lost six members to Huntington’s disease and hosts the annual Sparta race along with the Michigan Lawn Mower Racing Association. Ratel and members of the Mikula family, including father-and-son lawn mower racing champions Jim and Jayson Mikula, will attend the screening. The World Premiere took place earlier this year at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival.

To further mark this “mowmentous” occasion, the Hon. Skip Meyer, Mayor of Sparta, will declare July 21-22 as “Mow Town Days in Sparta” to recognize that lawn mower racing turns a weekend chore into a competitive sport and to celebrate the USLMRA’s 20th Anniversary.

The Jim Keech Memorial Race for Huntington’s Disease Research has generated $100,000 for Huntington’s disease research and has received Outstanding Fundraising Awards from the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA).

“This year’s Sparta race will be bittersweet, but will also be awesome,” said Jayson Mikula, 5-Time STA-BIL Series National Racing Champion whose family has been affected by Huntington’s disease and whose father-in-law was Jim Keech, also of Sparta. “Loosing the beloved Jim Keech has been tough, but we will honor his memory by renaming the event for him and continuing his passion of lawn mower racing while raising money for Huntington’s disease research.”

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is no effective treatment or cure. HD slowly diminishes the ability to walk, think, talk and reason. HD effects more than a quarter of a million Americans.