Lebo got a taste of Nascar during the lawn mower races, part of its annual Stars and Stripes celebration.
Jacque Traffanstedt of Emporia came out to support her husband, Tony, who was among the race participants. He was doing well, having won his heat, she said.
It’s something her husband puts a lot of time and effort into.
“You definitely have to have the time,” she said. “He’s out there a lot of times in the summer tinkering around, doing something different to it.”
He has spent less time racing this year than he normally does because the couple has a newborn daughter, Traffanstedt said.
“In a normal year, every weekend you’re out there racing, so you have to make it through each race just to know what you’re doing,” she said. “See how you can do better, how you can go faster.”
Traffanstedt worries about her husband when he’s out on the track, she said.
“He’s wrecked a couple times,” she said.
Her husband’s most recent wreck took place in 2018 during a race in Claremore, Oklahoma, when Traffanstedt was pregnant with their daughter. She nonetheless ran out to the track to help her husband.
The Traffanstedt family tries to take part in every lawn mower race which takes place in Lebo — about four or five times a year, she said — and enjoys traveling to the ones in Oklahoma.
They haven’t made it down to Claremore this year, because having an infant makes traveling for such events more difficult. They still make it to six to eight events a year.
It’s common, she said, for racers to head to contests every weekend, if possible.
“It’s his passion,” she said. “He loves it. He loves getting out there. It gets him going, it makes his heart race.”
As his wife, Traffanstedt feels compelled to support him.
She enjoyed the event Saturday in Lebo — she always does.
“It’s a good thing to come out and support,” Traffanstedt said. “It started out very small and it grew into something very big. It’s really nice.”
Spencer Rosenquist of Neosho Rapids isn’t a racer himself — he has no intention of getting out on the tracks any time soon — and he didn’t have any friends or family taking part in the race. He just likes to watch. Whenever
Rosenquist enjoys to “just be able to come out and see it happen,” he said.
The lawn mower race is similar to go-carts, which he also enjoys.
Rosenquist has attended the lawn mower race once before, when he had the opportunity.
Mary Lochmann, on the other hand, is from Lebo and has attended every lawn mower race except one. She doesn’t have any racers out on the track herself, it’s just an event she believes in supporting.
Lochmann likes that it’s family-oriented. Children as young as 10 can take part in the races. Adults are welcome to participate as well. It’s something, she said, that children and parents can work on together.
“It doesn’t matter how old the kids are, they can get together with the parents and work on it together,” Lochmann said. “You don’t have to be an athlete … It’s something that you can bond with your family over.”
It’s a bit of good, clean fun, she said, and relatively affordable. It offers children and parents something to be proud of.
Lochmann was glad the skies stayed clear and rain-free for the races and for the Stars and Stripes weekend. It may have been hot out, but that didn’t prevent her from enjoying and taking part in the celebration.
Lochmann loves the Stars and Stripes celebration as a whole — she enjoys everything about it. She likes seeing all the people and taking part in activities and looked forward to the fireworks that evening.
“Everything’s all together within a couple day’s span and you can pick and choose for your age groups,” Lochmann said.