Congratulations to Chuck Miller, Lawn Mower Racing Champion and no relation to me

I can understand that “Chuck Miller” is a generic name – according to The U.S. Census in 2000, Miller was the sixth most popular surname (only trailing Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown and Jones), while “Charles” or “Chuck” is the eighth most popular given name in America (behind James, John, Robert, Michael, William, David and Richard).

I tell this statistic to lead into another story.

Around maybe 2000 or 2001, I’m flipping up and down the cable channels and I come across the Speed Channel.  I’ll watch Speed for about 15 seconds – just to see if they’re showing some NASCAR coverage or maybe an episode of Pinks (the show where two street rods compete, with the loser surrendering his car’s pink slip – the title papers – to the winner).

The Speed Channel was showing what appeared to be a competition involving lawn mower racing.  Oh great, I thought, this is what the 500-channel universe has brought to us.  Guys racing on riding mowers.  I started to change the channel, until I heard the announcer say:

“And Chuck Miller has just taken the lead with 10 laps to go!”

Hold on – who just took the lead?

Chuck Miller, lawn mower racer. Not related to me.

Sure enough, one of the lawn mower racers – a fellow named Chuck Miller – was tearing up the track like Kyle Busch at Bristol.  Forget changing channels.  I wanted to see how this played out.

So for the next few minutes, I watched as “Chuck Miller” led the final ten laps of the lawn mower race, and took home the victory – and a championship trophy to go with it.


At the time, I did some research on lawn mower racing. Apparently the sport has its own sanctioning body (the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association) and a touring series (the STA-BIL National Lawn Mower Racing Series).  The riding mowers (which have their mowing blades removed before racing) are modified to reach speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, and riders are required to wear neck supports and outfit their riding mowers with a killswitch, which stops the motor in case the driver falls off.  There’s even a lawn mowing video game, produced in 2007 for the XBOX and PC platforms.  I kid you not.

Miller, seen in the above picture with his lawn mower “Boogie Woogie,” has competed in every race of the STA-BIL National Lawn Mower Racing Series since the organization’s inception in 1992.  He’s won several championships in different levels of the sport, and even has his own successful lawn mower and home garden center in Marion, Ohio, about an hour north of Columbus.

In fact, his home and garden center will become the permanent location of the newly-created United States Lawn Mower Racing Association’s Hall of Fame, of which Miller was elected into its Class of 2009.  The induction took place over Labor Day Weekend, as part of the 17th annual STA-BIL Keeps Gas Fresh Finals, the Daytona 500 of lawn mower racing.

So congratulations to Chuck Miller, lawn mower racer, on your induction into the Lawn Mower Racing Association Hall of Fame.  As for Chuck Miller the Albany-based blogger… I’ll just get my Briggs & Stratton electric push mower out of the garage and take care of my front lawn the old-fashioned way.

Although I might paint a little “28” on the side of my mower and start calling it “Boogie Woogie” – maybe…