What to do in Meningie? Race your Lawnmower of course!
What to do in Meningie?
Ben Reusch is, The Lawnmower Man.
He is also the Manager of the Meningie Hotel. Having travelled from Adelaide to Darwin (via Perth) relief managing, he arrived six years ago and took on the role of managing the Hotel. And, when Ben arrived in Meningie, so did the mowers.
But first, a bit of lawnmower history....
Lawnmower racing has been in Australia since 1987. It all started when a group of farmers in the Snowy Mountains drove their mowers to the top of a steep hill, switched their engines off and let them go, with no brakes (of course). Lawnmower racing was now a thing.
After small beginnings in Boobowrie, South Australia, SALMRA (South Australian Lawn Mowers Racing Assoc) made up a rule book with different classes and sizes. Lawnmower racing was now official. Mowers competing these days can be anything from stock standard up to 450cc motorbike engines, Holy Moly you need to witness this in person.
What to do on the Queens Birthday weekend in the Coorong?
Over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Meningie Hotel hosts their Lawnmower race, held in the backyard of the Hotel.
2022 will be the fifth event at Meningie. 2021 was slightly different as it was the first time the event had been held with only South Australian entrants. Seven Victorian teams couldn't cross the border and four teams from the West were too worried they wouldn't be able to get home. Thanks Covid19!
And, despite Covid's best efforts, in 2021, 49 mowers were registered to compete and crowd numbers for the day saw over 900 through the gate, an amazing achievement.
The best part about Lawnmower racing, aside from the fumes, is the people behind it. They hold the race events in small towns only, their main aim is to inject the money raised back into local communities, like Meningie.
As a spectator it's only a gold coin donation and a great day out for the whole family. Wherever the event is held it is up to them to arrange catering, last year the guys and gals at Cape Jervis raised money for the bushfires. These people aren't in it for the prize money, they generally just want to compete in something they love and to make sure that their communities benefit from it.
Now lawnmover racing isn't just for the big boys and their mowers. There are categories for the young kids to participate and novelty helmets just add to the entertainment.
If you get a chance this year. Keep an eye out for the lone rider on a mower called ‘Bushranger’. When he rides, he is on a mission to destroy the track. Dirt flying everywhere and with his front wheels off the ground most of the time, he is there to entertain. The crowd gets behind him as he carves up the track.
The setup and meticulous organisation of these events are phenomenal.
The grandstands and hay bales are trucked in for the purpose built race track.
The pits are set up in the neighbours back yard and local businesses and sporting clubs set up food and beverage.
Hat's off to the committee behind this annual event, the true nuts and bolts keeping it together. Without their dedication events like this would not exist.
There’s a saying, ‘Build it and they will come’ and that they do when lawnmower racing is involved.
But, where to eat in Meningie?
Lawnmower racing would not happen without the tremendous support of the Meningie Hotel. So if you are famished (or parched) after a long day of racing, call into the Meningie Hotel and refresh.
More information on Lawnmower racing in Meningie?
To keep in touch with details about future lawnmower events and Meningie Hotel happenings, give the Meningie Hotel | Facebook page a like and for more on Lawnmower racing check out