The Adventures Of Old Red

“Blade Runner” – 4/13/14

The news broke early Saturday morning, reports from the Middleton Power Center leaking onto Twitter and other social media outlets, Old Red’s original 28 year old blade, from the 1985 Toro side discharge self-propelled, now turned push mower, would be retired.

Old Red, now 29 years old, the current world record holder for most lifetime career mows (1,026) could not be reached for comment. Per his usual off-season regimen, he was vacationing in Costa Rica, taking a few extra weeks because of the long winter that has just begun to exit the Upper Midwest, his home mowing locale.

With 35 mows in an up and down, yet record setting 2013 season, speculation had swirled regarding the outlook for Old Red and the rest of his career going into the 2014 mowing season. Some insiders had speculated 2013 would be his last year of mowing, fueled by rumors on TMZ that he had been posted for sale on Craig’s List, by his owner, Pat Heffling

“After a long discussion with Old Red over the phone, we’ve decided to go ahead and order a new blade for the 2014 season”, said Heffling. “This will be a custom blade specifically tailored for Old Red. We realize he is in the later stages of his career, but we felt the engine was still strong enough for another season. We will not, however, be undergoing another tune-up in 2014, it’s a karma thing with Old Red. The other factor we had to weigh was the late Spring this year, and what looks to be a shorter mowing season. Last season at this time we were already mowing twice a week, with the first mows in March. He’s rested, he’s ready. We’ll just roll the dice on how he accepts the new blade, it’s comparable to hip replacement surgery for a human. We trust the pro’s at MPC, they’ve been good to us.”

And what will become of the record breaking blade that now resides in the garage in Middleton? Owner Pat Heffling said Old Red requested it be sent to the Mowing Hall OF Fame in Greensboro, North Carolina. “Before they called he told me that’s where he wanted it to be”.

A class move by a true legend. Let the 2014 mowing season.

-Scotty Green for Mowing Weekly

And For What

Old Red captured resting in 2009

For this exclusive And For What interview, Scotty Green, editor Emeritus of Mowing Weekly, caught up with the legendary, 28 year old, Toro 2 cycle, former self-propelled, now push mower, Old Red, the current all-time mowing leader (under review by the USMA and WMC – United States Mowing Association and World Mowing Committee) with 1,022 career mows, including 31 to date in 2013.

The interview was conducted on Sunday, October 6th, 2013. Rumors have surfaced recently that Old Red perhaps is on the trading block, aka the Trade-In block, or worse yet, ready to be put out to pasture, so to speak, by his owner, Pat Heffling. Old Red has sat suspiciously idle since Friday, September 27th, his last mow. Since then the grass at 6950 Apprentice Place has reached an all-time high in height, fueled by a healthy dose of rain and sunshine in the last 10 days. Old Red is usually on a 1-2 times weekly mowing schedule, so his inactivity has raised more than a few eyebrows in the mowing circles.

Is Old Red being shipped out, traded in, or ready to be shut down? His owner refused to comment when contacted by Mowing Weekly, further fueling the speculation that this is indeed, the last season for Old Red. Green sat down with Old Red during this hiatus, at his home inside the garage at 6950 Apprentice Place, just few yards away from the grass growing out of control in his very own backyard. Old Red was rested, stretched out in his faded blood red Toro paint, his wheels enjoying the cushioned mats of Mohawk carpets samples underneath. Between sips from a cold bottle of Red Stripe beer, and the occasional steady drags on a Marlboro Red, Old Red was open, lucid, but mostly confused regarding his current status.

SG: First of all, congratulations on the record, your 1,000th mow and your continued longevity.
OR: Thank you. It’s been quite a push, I was able to stay focused despite all the media attention, I’ve been lucky mechanically this year too and that always helps. Plus, for once, the weather has cooperated nicely.
SG: Was there ever a doubt in your mind that you would break the record?
OR: In my mind? No. In my owner’s mind? Certainly. Heffling is such a pessimist sometimes, it’s unreal. That guy can see the glass half empty before anyone pours a drink in it. He did do me a huge favor by getting my blades sharpened before the season this year though. it’s something I’m not comfortable with and he knows that, but it did make it a decided difference in my cutting style this year.
SG: What was the feeling when the record fell?
OR: In reality, just another mow, really (lights another cigarette). It was a beautiful day, temps in the 70’s, bright sunshine, grass was at about 4 inches, I believe. Needed to be cut for sure, Heffling will tell you that. Sometimes he has a penchant for mowing a little early, if you know what I mean. But, when it was over, other than the all the media and the press conference, photo shoots, etc., it was just another day at the lawn.
SG: Were you relieved?
OR: In a way, yes. You can’t comprehend the pressure unless you’ve been there. Add to the fact that I’m 28 years old and there was always the outside chance that mechanical issues would take me down. I had the left wheel thing in 2011 that was pretty serious and I’ve had problems with my exhaust and air filter throughout my career. I’m not the quietest mower around, you know. (opens another Red Stripe). I have to give credit where credit is due though, and Heffling started seeing the lawn a lot better this summer, he finally got his cataract surgery done on both eyes and you could really tell the difference in the mowing patterns this year. So, in retrospect, we both battled through some issues, but in the end it accomplished what we set out do, and that was break the record. So, relieved, yes.
SG: So let’s get right to the heart of the issue, then, why I’m here. In a season that has seen so many things go right, what is going on now?
OR: (Cleary agitated – belches) You tell me, I have no clue.
SG: Certainly you must have some insight, have you been able to talk to any other mowers, or owners about your inactivity?
OR: A few blades, no owners, but I can’t name the sources.
SG: What do they say?
OR: That this is a classic situation where the mower has probably been put on Craig’s List, while the owner negotiates late season deals for a newer mower to replace you next season. All the signs are there: plenty of grass to mow, nice weather, plenty of gas left in the tank, the mower is mechanically sound, but the owner just perceives it’s time to move on.
SG: Do you believe them?
OR: No. Flat out, absolutely no, I’d bet my blades on it, no!
SG: Why do you say that?
OR: The circumstances have changed in other ways around here, it’s a different world lately. Something’s up, but I don’t think it entirely has to do with me, just a feeling I have inside my chassis.
SG: What kind of things are you alluding to?
OR: The owner, Heffling, definitely not the same guy.
SG: How so?
OR: Ever since the last mow, after he and Cyndi (wife) got back from Beef-A-Rama, it hasn’t been the same.
SG: Do you think he might have discovered a deal on a mower in Minoocqua?
OR: No, no, nothing like that. He’d never abandon me like that, I know him too well, at least I think I do. No, he’s been out of sync lately, in fact, he left here last Tuesday with Cyndi and he hasn’t gone back to work since.
SG: What could that mean?
OR: You tell me. The only time he comes out of the house is every other hour or so for a brief ten minute walk around the neighborhood. Head down, shades on all the time, doesn’t matter if the sun is out or if it’s raining. Strange.
SG: What else?
OR: (Getting another beer and opening another pack of smokes). He hasn’t wandered into the garage even to say hello, or for that matter, grab a beer, damnedest thing. He still hasn’t gone back to work, and for the life of me I have no clue what is going on in that house all day. You could hear a mouse fart.
SG: Drugs?
OR: Wouldn’t put it past him. All of a sudden he became this “Breaking Bad” nut overnight, maybe he’s cooking meth. Who knows. Beats me. Stranger things have happened, I guess. He hasn’t shaved either since the last mow, you wouldn’t recognize him. That’s not the worst of it though.
SG: What do you mean?
OR: Rumor has it he’s ready to pay to have some neighbor kid cut the lawn tonight.
SG: For real?
OR: Heard him on the phone with the kid’s mom. Supposed to come over tonight to take care of the mess that’s out there now.
SG: Maybe he figures the length of the grass would be too much for you?
OR: That doesn’t make any sense at all. We could have mowed Wednesday or Thursday last week. Something’s up.
SG: Maybe reach out to Cyndi?
OR: That’s a good idea. I’ve always liked her. Supports that guy no matter what, “And For What” as he’s given to say. She always defends me when the neighbors complain about my noise, and man, can she cook. She’s another reason I’ve lasted so long, great nutrition.
SG: Well, Old Red, sounds to me like this story is far from over, best of luck to you down the yard, wherever your owner takes you.
OR: Thanks Scotty. There’s a lot more to this story I’m sure, all things happen for a reason. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

This is Part 1 of a 2 part interview, to be continued….

And For What

Controversial Mow Ends 2012 Season

By Scotty Green (Mowing Weekly)

Old Red, the legendary 27 year old, 2-cycle, Toro, self-propelled turned push mower, fell just two mows shy of tying the all-time mowing mark held by Hammerin’ Hank Toro, after his 25th, and final, mow of the 2012 season Wednesday night.

Old Red finished 2012 with a paltry 25 mows, due mostly to a severe drought in mid- June that lasted through July and into August in south central Wisconsin. Initially an early Spring had Old Red’s owner, Pat Heffling, drooling in anticipation of shattering the all-time mowing record with his aging mower. Major news networks and ESPN had assigned daily coverage after unseasonably early cuttings in March appeared to signal a record breaking celebration. The drought ended all that, and added to a series of controversial mows that have analysts and historians questioning the credibilty of even the 25 mows logged this past season.

International Mowing Commissioner, F. Scott Turfbuilder, issued a statement after Heffling called in the last mow on Wednesday, in unusually warm 78 degree weather:

“Several witnesses and reporters have come forth with information that details several unnecessary cuttings in July and August when there was, little, if any, grass that needed to be cut. Additionally, last night’s mow, with several square footage of leaves still on the ground, may technically be considered a mulching, versus a mow, and it is also debatable whether or not the actual length of the grass even justified a cutting. Finally, Heffling’s lawn, (although admittedly), has shown signs of recovery, is not at 100%, and International Mowing rules require that any official mows must be with a lawn that is at least at 95% grass blade capacity. Therefore, it is the opinion of this committee that all 25 mows by Old Red in 2012 will be subject to review, and an official number, to be counted toward the all-time mark, is therefore also under review until further notice.”

Old Red, unavailable for comment, was last seen being wheeled into the garage at 6950 Apprentice Place, his chassis, blown free of the chewed leaves that had littered his body earlier. Several empty aluminum pints of Coors Light lay strewn about his holding area, a few ounces of gasoline left in his tank, spark plug detached.

His owner also declined comment, only issuing a statement through his attorney that travel arrangements were being arranged for Old Red to a remote island destination for his customary winter retreat. It was also disclosed through sources close to this reporter that the air travel ticket for Old Red was one way only.

For the record, Old Red finished the controversial 2012 season with 25 mows*, leaving him with 991* career mows, two shy of the all-time record of 993 held by Hammerin’ Hank Toro.

Feel free to “clip” and paste this article.

And For What

Old Red Abandoned, Unclaimed

Old Red, left outside his owner's garage overnight, remains unclaimed on waivers.

Perhaps as a result of a disastrous summer for mowing, and since all the pre season hype surrounding Old Red has crumbled into a patch of blighted grass, Old Red was left outside his owners garage last Sunday evening, abandoned, an orphan for the taking. Adding insult to injury, no one claimed the 27 year old mower, who, having logged 23 controversial mows this season, lies just five mows away from tying the all-time mark of 993 mows held by Hammerin’ Hank Toro.

In what was supposed to have been a memorable, historic season for mowing, and what appeared to be a cakewalk for the record after an early, hot and humid spring, disappoint reigns. Everything has fallen completely flat, like a dull  mower blade gnawing away at withered, lifeless grass.

A severe drought that lingered over southern Wisconsin for much of June, July and August, has rendered any attempt at the mowing milesone all but useless. The lawn at 6950 Apprtentice Place is a shadow of its former self, needing a seeding application this week to save portions of the front and side terrrace. The back yard is better, but in no way requires cutting more than once every two weeks.

Maybe that is why Old Red was left outside his owners garage after his mow on Sunday, August 26th, following mow number 987. Nearly choking to death on dust and dead grass, Old Red was subjected to another questionable mow by his owner, Pat Heffling, who has come under sharp criticism for racking up several mows this year that most officials have deemd unnecessary.

Heffling was unavailable for comment, issuing a statement only thorugh his agent regarding the matter, “Old Red has mowed at a high level for a long time, but it is obvious to me and anyone who knows him that his off-lawn activities are beginning to take a toll on his performance. I put him on waivers because it’s apparent he no longer enjoys mowing for me or this lawn, unfortunately, no one claimed him so we’ll have to see what transpires over the rest of what is left of this pathetic mowing season. In the meantime I will continue to suffer along with the rest of the football fans in Wisconsin, listening to the disappointing exploits of the Badgers and Packers as they continue to stink up the 2012 season. My focus is no longer on Old Red and the all-time record, it’s apparent he is probably done mowing this year anyway due to the terrible grass growing conditions. Only a severe change in the weather pattern can save him now”.

So there you have it mowing fans, Old Red is stalled with 988 mows under his drive belt so far in 2012, his only hope being a lot of precipitation combined with sunshine over the next four to six weeks, otherwise the coveted mark of 993 mows will still remain out of reach. His owner has lost focus on the lawn, resorting to slit seeding in order to save sections of it going into 2013. Thus, it is quite possible that Old Red has cut his last yard, that being on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012. Unclaimed on waivers, it remains mystery as to the future of Old Red as one of the few remaing 2 cycle mowers on the planet. His loud roar will surely be missed, but not by neighbor Bill Schrum.

And For What

Down and Out

Old Red, the legendary 27 year old 2 cycle self-propelled mower turned push mower, can only sit and wait as a three week long drought has rendered him useless for lawn cutting purposes.

His home turf in Middleton is a mottled mass of blonde, crunchy strands, the victim of severe heat and little or no rain for three weeks running. Old Red, who stood at the very least a better than average chance of eclipsing the all-time mow record held by Hammerin’ Hank Toro of 993 mows, had logged 14 mows this season, leaving him with 979 career mows, just 14 shy of tying the record. An early season start had made it appear that breaking the record would be a mere formality, now, another season of mowing be needed to turn that trick. Old Red has not mowed since June 21st.

“You are really rolling the dice if you think this guy is going to be able to get after it again after this season,” lamented his owner, Pat Heffling. “He’s been bothered by all sorts of nagging injuries this year, balding tires, loose lug nuts, dull blades, uneven cutting angles, it’s a laundry list of maladies, really. Without any spring training on top of that, he’s a mess right now, physically and mentally.”

Old Red, unabashedly an admitted heavy drinker, was last seen in Heffling’s garage nursing a tumbler of Maker’s Mark . “Straight up”, commented Old Red. “It’s the only civil way to drink this fine whiskey and besides, none of the ice lasts more than a few minutes out here in this sauna of a garage anyway.”

What appeared to be a celebratory year with national media attention, has suddenly taken a dark and miserable turn. “Much like the Brewers,” added Heffling.

Unless Nature obliges with a sudden dramatic turnaround in precipitation, it looks as though Old Red will fall just shy of the all-time mow mark he has so vehemently pursued these past six years in Middleton. The likelihood of another season on the turf is but a mere pipe dream now for the mower that everyone at one time was convinced would take over the crown as the all-time champion.

This source has learned that several exchanges of e-mails between Heffling and the Ho-Chunk Nation, with the subject line, “Rain Dance” have been passed in the last three weeks. At this stage of the juncture, who can blame them for at least trying?

-Scotty Green

Old Red, exhausted, rests after his horrible mow on 5-5-12

Seemingly a mower blade away from shattering the all-time mow record at the start of the season, Old Red, the 27 year old former self-propelled 2 cycle Toro mower, now converted to a push mower, now must wonder how much he really has left in the tank after a horrible outing early Friday evening in Middleton.

Needing just twenty-two more mows to e-CLIP-se the all-time mow record held by Hammerin’ Hank Toro (993) Old Red appeared sluggish from start to finish in his seventh start of the 2012 season. Looking much older than his 27 years , Old Red was caught pausing several times during a thirty-five minute embarrassment on Friday, wheels idling on the lawn, during a mow that usually clocks in at twenty minutes. That’s nearly TWICE the time it normally takes to finish the job. What happened?

Muttering in low syllables and sipping from a bottle of G2, Old Red was at a loss for words in a post mow press conference. “No excuses really, but you have to understand the conditions weren’t the greatest either, and it wouldn’t suprise me if our illustrious owner wasn’t juicing the turf. As he would say, (long pause) ‘And For What.'”. With that, Old Red was removed from the podium by several handlers, allegedly hurling obscenities in the genereal direction of Pat Heffling, the owner, seated next to him on the stage.

Old red was referring to a longer than usual blade height, a result of heavy rain and warmer temperatures the last two days in southern Wisconsin. The turf at 6950 Apprentice was still moist and the tops of the blades neared 5 inches, an uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous combination for a mower such as Old Red.

Old Red, clearly exhausted, and covered in a thick green layer of wet grass, was finally and mercifully removed from the podium by several handlers, allegedly hurling obscenities in the genereal direction of Pat Heffling, the owner, seated next to him on the stage.

Heffling answered questions next, having to almost yell his answers above the clamor of camera shutters and dozens of reporters straining to get a straight answer.

“He’s right, there are no excuses. It’s been a crazy Spring and now it appears maybe an even crazier Summer lies ahead. Remember, he’s the one that claimed he didn’t need a tune-up, that the Mojitos in Punta Cana tasted better than the engine oil, that the blades from last year were going to be just fine this year. A lot of these problems are staring right back at him in the garage mirror right now. Let him go cool off on his little carpeted corner of the garage and we’ll see what he has to say come Wednesday, because regardless of the conditions, he’s gonna have to cut the grass either way. I’m taking a vacation and won’t be back until Monday. So someone needs to suck it up, and I don’t mean all the clumps of grass I had to hose off him either.”

What about the allegations of juicing the grass to make it grow faster, thus yielding more mows? “Complete nonsense. Hey, my guys from Maple Leaf haven’t even put down the first application of my annual contract yet. Look at him, he can hardly roll, he’s a littel delusional right now. He just needs rest and more fluids. And a better attitude.”

All this drama and yet Old Red now just needs twenty-one mows to e-CLIP-se the record. If these growing conditions persist, that record just might fall in early July, maybe around the the 4th of July. And that would just be the kind of spectacle the networks are hoping for, as the global coverage of Old Red’s quest for the all-time mows record begins to gain more and more MOW-mentum each day.

-Scotty Green filed this report

Old Red Rests Outside His Garage

The Return of Old Red                                                                             

 (Scotty Green, editor-in-chief of Mowers World, contributed this story)

The news flashed over the internet two weeks ago, Old Red, the legendary mower, had been sent to the Middleton Power Center ER , and the prognosis didn’t look good.  When I learned this past Monday that the 25 year old mower had been released, albeit with its self-propelled ability taken away, I was relieved, for this was once one of the great mowers of all time.  I called the current owner, Pat Heffling, to see how Old Red was feeling.  Heffling had just released a statement that a comeback mow was scheduled for May 21, but when I tried to reached him Wednesday, his wife, Cyndi, told me he had decided to move Old Red up a day due to unforeseen Memorial Day Weekend plans and dicey weather. It had only been three weeks since the surgery, but Old Red was going to mow that evening.

So I scrapped my current projects, told my secretary to reschedule my appointments, and ventured out to Middleton for the event.  Battling through thick traffic, I parked several blocks away from the address. The crowd grew louder with every approaching step. Upon arrival I was  promptly greeted by an announced sold out crowd of over 7,500 rabid mowing fans. They lined the perimeter of the property, standing side by side, or seated in lawn chairs for those lucky enough to get a front edge seat. The weather conditions were ideal, temps in the 80’s, bright sunshine and a nice gusty wind to blow away any clippings.  Concession lines were long, but many of the fans already had their coolers in tow when the garage door opened at approximately 5:45pmCST.

The very sight of the aging 2-cycle Toro as it was wheeled onto the driveway drove the crowd into a frenzy.  Heffling acknowledged the crowd and went through the standard pre-mow checks, then took a deep breath and slowly grasped the recoil cord.  “I was nervous, if Old Red was edgy, he wasn’t showing it.  I had given him a little drink of oil and gasoline in the garage just before we came out. He was fine being relegated to a push mower, but in the back of my mind the biggest fear was that he wouldn’t start in front of this huge crowd.  Prior to his injury, he was real tough starter, 12-13 pulls. Seriously.”

Heffling let it rip.  The mower erupted into full roar on the first pull; the roaring crowd reached the first of many crescendos.  “Absolutely amazing, he hadn’t started on the first pull, in what, three years? Crazy”.  The mower pushed cautiously onto the side yard, and immediately began laboring, the majority of the crowd didn’t see it, but for those who have mowed a million lawns, it was obvious, the cutting height was too low, and Heffling knew it.  “Now I’d have stop him and try a re-start, I had no choice”.  Heffling spun the mower around and parked it back on the driveway, cutting the engine. The crowd took a collective gasp.  “I thought he’d had it”, said one inebriated fan. Heffling quickly adjusted up a ½ inch all around, then paused for the re-start.  “I juiced the choke just a tad, for good luck more than anything.”  Miraculously, again on THE FIRST PULL, Old Red roared back to life!

The side grass was cleaned up and the front yard was quickly groomed with the newly sharpened blades, the crowd grew deafening with every pass, but yet again, Heffling knew another potential problem loomed, he wasn’t out of the yard just yet.  “Old Red was humming, it was like he was re-born, but I didn’t want to push him too hard on his first night back, and I knew that the backyard grass was longer, I was going to have to stop him again for a second re-start, or it might get ugly out back if I didn’t set the cut height at four inches.

So, instead of heading down the corridor between his neighbor’s house and out to the back, Heffling turned Old Red around again and headed back to the driveway for yet another, final adjustment.  Most of the raucous crowd hardly noticed, but when the Briggs and Stratton engine cut out again, another hush fell over the throng.  “Thought he bought it.  Looked like he had been laboring, it was still pretty warm, I thought may Old Red was dehydrated”, observed a fan.

Then the inexplicable, the miraculous happened. “Three one pull starts in a row? No way.  Never in a million years, not in my time,” admitted Heffling.  “I was mentally prepared for some sort of delay in the action, but the crowd was so into it, the karma was incredible.”  Chants of “Go Old Red!” filled the air. Heffling pumped the choke again for good luck, and let it rip one more time.  Boom!  Right on cue, Old Red sprang to life, unbelievably, for the third consecutive time on just ONE PULL.  Jubilant fans tossed their beer cups in the air, lawn chairs were happily toppled over, and everyone chimed in, “Go Old Red! Go Old Red!”

By now the place was up for grabs.  The wind had picked up and fans were grabbing clippings out of the air for souvenirs.  Like the Miracle on Ice or Mine That Birds’ stunning Kentucky Derby upset, this was a major sports moment (make that mow-mentous!) in the making and they were enjoying every minute of it. As Heffling made the final pass to finish off the yard, the crowd reached one more thundering roar. “Couldn’t hear yourself  think.  Were you at Miller Park when Braun hit the homer against the Cubs last year?  Twice as loud,” offered a spectator, wearing a cap that said, “And For What”. 

in one final act of bravado, Heffling paused Old Red on the driveway, revved the engine and then proceeded for one last victory lap around the property, high-fiving the fans along the way.  Finally, when Old Red rolled back onto the driveway and Heffling mercifully cut the engine, the scene looked like Victory Lane at the Indy 500.  All that was missing was some supermodel to hand Old Red a glass of milk.

“It was like Divine Intervention”, said an exhausted Heffling afterwards, sipping on a cold beer in the garage, Old Red at his feet. “Three One Pull starts, who would have thunk it.  In hind sight I probably should have just set the cut height at 4 inches at the outset and been done with it, but the way it played out with the crowd and everything, you couldn’t have asked for a better comeback.  Couple of stray rocks on the back that I was able to get out of the way, and a little bit of mulch chewed up, but other than that, it was a flawless performance by Old Red. What a night”.

Ali back into the ring, Michael Jordan returning to the Bulls, Ben Sheets returning again and again after all his injuries, this comeback was right up there with them all.   “This’” said Heffling as he guzzled another ice cold beer, “Is what mowing is all about.”

In addition to his duties as Editor-In-Chief of Mowers World, Scotty Green has published several noteworthy fictional books on mowing, including, “Blade Runner”, “Blades Of Glory”, “The Green Mile” and most notably, ”Hitsville, USA – The Story of Mow-Town”.  An avid basketball fan and former collegiate standout at Greenville College, he is also part owner of the NBA’S L.A.  Clippers.  Green and his wife, Soylent, make their home in Moline. Illinois.        

Date: 3-26-12

Red Alert! Old Red Forced Into Early Action

(AP/UPI/Facebook/Twitter/Sparta Herald/Monroe County Democrat)

Old Red, the legendary 2-cycle, once a self-propelled, now converted push mower, and in his 27th season, was forced into early mowing action last Saturday.

Reached at his beachside cabana while vacationing at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana, Old  Red was literally yanked  from his traditional off season retreat and put on the turf when an unforeseen above average warming trend swept the Midwest.

Old Red’s controversial owner, Pat Heffling, who has been “pushing” the aging mower to eclipse the all-time mowing record held by Hammerin’ Hank Toro, had these comments:

“Hated to press him into service without his usual pre-season tune-up or blade sharpening, but the unseasonably warm weather left me no other option.  The clinics are swamped with walk-ins and Middleton Power Memorial was unable to deliver the service I needed, and the grass simply got too high, out of control, what was I supposed to do?”

Old Red belched to life at approximately 11:45am Saturday, March 24th, marking it the earliest in his long career he has ever taken to the lawn. Despite several unsuccessful pulls initially, the senior mower finally choked to life and filled the neighborhood with his trademark roar.

The first cutting session wasn’t without drama; Heffling had to readjust the cut level mid way through the job when the wet grass and soggy sod took its toll on Old Red.  Gasping for air and obviously out of shape without any pre season conditioning, Old Red, however, was able to re-start and finish the job, his 966th career mow. He idles just 29 mows from breaking the all-time mark of 993.

“I kid you not; I had just ordered another shot of Quervo 1800 and a Dos Equis when I got the call.  I thought the owner was drunk too, but the next thing I knew I was on a helicopter back to Wisconsin”, added Old Red.

Will Old Red receive a well-deserved tune-up?  Will his record chasing owner have the dignity to at least get his blades sharpened?  These and other questions will surely be asked throughout in what is shaping up to be, barring a serious injury, a record breaking mowing season.  Media coverage will be intense as the quest for the all-time mowing record, a number previously thought to be untouchable, appears ready to be clipped by none other than Old Red.

–Scotty Green (Lawn Mower Weekly)

Old Red (file photo)