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For Hill Country Native, The Grass Is Greener When He's Racing Lawn Mowers

Martin do Nascimento

“The thing about racing mowers is: It’s an odd sport,” admits Joe Hopkins.

He’s sitting on top of a big bucket of paint in the backroom of a repair shop on the outskirts of Liberty Hill with six half-assembled mowers laid out behind him.

By day, Hopkins, 37, spends his time fixing up mowers and outdoor appliances of all types at the A-Line Auto Parts in Liberty Hill. But when the work day ends, he shifts gears from upkeeping to upgrading – souping up his own mower, a bright yellow Cub Cadet that he says can reach speeds of up to 60 miles an hour around the track.

A member of the 19-year-old Lone Star Mower Racing Association, Hopkins is one of three dozen or so lawn-mower racing enthusiasts scattered throughout the state who meet up every couple of weeks to run laps around a dirt track “for nothing but bragging rights and a shot at a $5 trophy,” he says.

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