Team events help in cancer fightBrice Johnstad has “a gazillion” reasons to like lawnmower racing. The 8-year-old enjoys watching the machines hurtle down the track at 60 mph or more. He appreciates the occasional rides with his father, Johnathan, or friend “Monkey.” He likes seeing the familiar faces of racers and fans. And the Foxboro boy likes raising money to fight cancer through the Cure Mower Cancer Open Race.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Brice Johnstad has “a gazillion” reasons to like lawnmower racing. The 8-year-old enjoys watching the machines hurtle down the track at 60 mph or more. He appreciates the occasional rides with his father, Johnathan, or friend “Monkey.” He likes seeing the familiar faces of racers and fans. And the Foxboro boy likes raising money to fight cancer through the Cure Mower Cancer Open Race.
A number of Brice’s family members have battled cancer, and his great-grandfather died of the disease. The annual lawnmower race, he said, is “to make medicine to help them.”
This year’s race takes place Saturday at AMSOIL Speedway, 4700 Tower Ave., Superior.
Hot laps begin at noon and racing starts at 2 p.m. If it rains, the race will be held Sunday.
For the first time, the event will be nationally sanctioned by the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association. That should pull in as many as 50 different mowers from eight states as well as Canada, according to Brice’s mother, Brooke.
“There’s tons more guys coming,” the 8-year-old said. In addition, more kids games, activities and concessions are planned than in previous years. A silent auction will be held. Local businesses and community members have rallied to grow the event, which is geared toward family and youth in particular.
“Since our promoter’s only 8, we figure we need to keep it kid-appropriate, kid-happy,” Brooke Johnstad said.
Also new this year is a survivors lap, featuring local cancer survivors on a special pace mower leading laps around the track. Although nationally ranked racers are expected, there will also be a crop of local mowers taking the field, including a Briggs and Stratton driven by Brice’s father. There is still time to register a mower. A racing mower must have a tether safety shutoff and blades must be removed. Drivers age 10 to 80 can race.
The event has become one of the top fundraisers for the Gary’s Ray of Hope team, named for Brice’s great-grandfather. The team has raised $7,480 for the 2012 Douglas County Relay for Life.
Admission to the race is $5 for adults, and $3 for children ages 6-12. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. Although ear protection will be available for sale, spectators are encouraged to bring their own. For more information, to volunteer or sign up a mower, email Brookej1928@netzero.net.
If lawn mowers don’t move you, MADCURE could be your cup of tea. The annual event, put on by the Maurices Relay for Life team, offers a gala evening of jazz music, ’60s fashion, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction based on the TV show “Mad Men.” All proceeds from the elegant event are earmarked for the fight against cancer.
The Maurices team has consistently topped the fundraising board for the Douglas County Relay for Life. To them, as for Brice’s family, battling the disease is personal. Jane Moe, co-captain of the Maurices team, said she lost two close co-workers to cancer. As she watched the disease ravage these young, vibrant people, Moe said, “I wanted to fight back to make a difference.”
Last year’s MADCURE event was such a success that the team is holding MADCURE II 5-9 p.m. June 12 at Dubh Linn Irish Pub, 109 W. Superior St., Duluth. Tickets are available online for $20 apiece at www.maurices.com/madcure. Each ticket purchased is redeemable for two tickets to the Saturday night comedy show at Dubh Linn.
The Douglas County Relay for Life begins at 6 p.m. July 13 at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. To date, 27 teams have signed up for the event and raised more than $17,000. All the money stays in the area to help people struggling with cancer. The money provides no-cost lodging for local cancer patients undergoing treatment in the Twin Cities and Rochester, Minn., and their caregivers. It also pays for services such as transportation, counseling, support groups, financial assistance for items like wigs and more.
Although both the Maurices and Gary’s Ray of Hope teams are hoping to cut a path to the top fundraising slot, their main goal is fighting cancer.
“We just try to do our best, see how much we can raise,” Brooke Johnstad said.