SAUK RAPIDS -- The sound of lawnmower engines filled the air at the Benton County Fair on Sunday during the fair's first-ever lawnmower races.

These aren't ordinary lawnmowers, as the blades have been removed and engines been souped-up with some reaching as much as 60 miles per hour.

"It's a lot of fun," says Bruce Bielinski, a racer from Bloomington. "People [yawn] when they hear lawnmower racing but these aren't your regular 'putt-putt-putt' lawnmowers."

Bielinski, 72, picked up the sport five years ago and is affectionately known as "Grandpa" to his fellow racers.

"I had an old lawnmower and I didn't like the way it cut my grass, so I turned it into a racer," Bielinski says. "I've been having a ball with it ever since."

The races bring out his competitive side, but Bielinski says the atmosphere at the events is always friendly.

"It's the camaraderie, we're all buddies [here]." Bielinski says. "But once you hit the track, everybody's out for themselves."

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON