• 88°

Not just for cutting grass

"Gentlemen, start your Mowers!"

That will be the battle cry this weekend when the city of Georgiana is invaded by lawnmower racers.

The Pettus Street 500, as it is has been labeled, will be sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Georgiana with all proceeds going to the building fund.

The original race was set for Sept. 18, but due to participation by Hurricane Ivan, the race had to be rescheduled.

"The pre-race festivities will begin at 1 p.m.," said Allen Stephenson, minister at First Baptist.

"We will also give prizes for the best decorated lawnmower, ugliest lawnmower and first, second and third places."

There are more than 20 participants set to take to the street in this year's race.

And with any good sporting event comes trash-talk.

"Trash is already being talked by Rapid Rob and by Fast Eddie," said Stephenson.

Rapid Rob Williams and Fast Eddie Holder will return to the asphalt this weekend.

"We've got participants ranging all the way from 18-20 horsepower tractors and we are going to put them in categories according to horsepower," said Rapid Rob Williams.

"According to some people there has been quite a bit of sup'ing up. They say, our county coroner, Richard Hornsby, said he's going to win the race. I think he may get the ugliest tractor prize."

The interesting thing about this race is the race within the race.

"There is competition between he and Fast Eddie Holder's tractor with buck horns on it. He said something about getting behind the coroner so he could rush him up. Of course I plan to be in there right among the first, if not, I'm going to plan to curb them if I can, so I can gain a little speed on them. Cut them off at the pass."

Hornsby begs to differ.

"They are some of the older folds picking on the new guy around," said Hornsby.

"He's going to find something different when Silver Bullet Racing gets a hold of him.

The trash talk continues.

"I've got a 15 horse and he's got a 20 horse and won't race with me, he's scared of me," Hornsby said.

But, the real focus of the race hasn't been lost by the competitors.

"We tore our church down about three months ago and I think the rebuilding program is supposed to start in February," said Williams.

"It will be a new building. Ours was built in 1919-1920, it had gotten to where they were in need of repair and had gotten to where it was as much to keep up."

"Brother Allen is our minister and he's a ball of fire and a great preacher. We are just looking to have a little fun and raise some money for our church."

"We're going to get out there Saturday and have some fun raise some money for the church," Hornsby said.

But, the beauty of the sport is that the trash-talking continues.

"There is definitely some bad blood between myself, Rapid Rob and the County Coroner," said Holder.

"If necessary me and the coroner may have to team up to see that Rob does not prevail. It is not going to be a pretty site."

"We've bragged so much until I don't know what's going to be the outcome," Williams said.

"The coroner brought his tractor by on a trailer that's why I passed judgement cause it's ugly. For it to be a church group there is a lot of lying going on. "

We are going to need to be put on the prayer list for two or three months after this. Just to get over all the lying and bragging that's been going on."

"He's been snooping around the shop trying to see the modification that have been made. I've still got the tractor torn down. It'll be ready for Saturday, though," Hornsby said.

But Hornsby and the Silver Bullet Racing team has a message for Rapid Rob.

"I've challenged him to a special race just me and him after everything is over with. I don't think he's going to take the challenge, so maybe if I challenge him in the paper he'll be forced to take it. Basically I'm telling him to put up or shut up."

No matter what happens, Stephenson assures everyone that local law enforcement will be on hand to handle any of the rowdy participants.