Twelve Mile, Indiana

On April 30, 2008 · 5 Comments

It all started when I saw a query for "Twelve Mile Indiana" recorded in my web access logs. That’s not too strange. My site is called Twelve Mile Circle. Someone typed the name of an obscure farm town into a search engine and out popped my site. That’s plausible. I get misdirected links all the time.

But then I got to thinking about this so-called town of Twelve Mile. It had no obvious connection to the Twelve Mile Circle, other than its name. It’s a third of the way across the continent. I figured I might learn a few facts but probably nothing much useful, or for that matter interesting.

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I looked at the expected wikipedia entry to gain an initial perspective. It’s an unincorporated rural community with about 1,100 people in Cass County. It has an elevation of 801 feet. It has an annual Christmas Pageant. OK, nothing too remarkable so far.

Nobody is exactly sure how it got its name. It "comes either from Twelve Mile Creek or from its position approximately 12 miles from the cities of Logansport, Peru and Rochester. It was previously known as Hen Peck." Ordinarily this little nugget would be more than enough to amuse me. Hen Peck is even funnier than Twelve Mile. I could write an entire entry around that name with complete satisfaction, but then everything took a strange turn.

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Twelve Mile is believed to be the home of the oldest organized lawn mower race in the United States, a contest dubbed the "Twelve Mile 500." I believe the satellite image displayed above shows the actual track. The local Lions Club has sponsored this annual Fourth of July Race since its inception in 1963, switching to a Grand Prix style in 1970. No less an authority than the U. S. Lawn Mower Racing Association recognizes Twelve Mile’s exalted status. Yes, this is a real organization and people are totally serious about their competitions with speeding lawn mowers. Ironically, despite the name, neither twelve nor 500 applies to the race. Each heat runs for sixty laps on a quarter mile track for a total of fifteen miles. The machines themselves reach speeds of about 30 miles per hour. It has drivers and pit crews just like the big leagues.

The Twelve Mile 500 gets some attention in the local press, including an article in Logansport’s Pharos Tribune. Also, enthusiasts and participants themselves post photographs of the event, including coverage of the 2005 race in a blog called The Bever Dam.

If you knew how much I liked oddball racing events like Demoliton Derby, you can imagine how much I now want to see a lawn mower race! This may be a different Twelve Mile but it certainly deserves abundant recognition.

UPDATE (July 9, 2008): I’ve just been informed that there is now a Twelve Mile 500 Riding Lawn Mower Race website, at appropriately enough, Woo-hoo! Check it out!

On April 30, 2008 · 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Twelve Mile, Indiana”

  1. Marc Bever says:

    Cool, somebody found my lawnmower racing pictures

  2. Mark Lowe says:

    I am one of the Lions club members who organize the 500 each year. We made front page of the Indinapolis Star this year and just completed the 46th annual race. See the website for more details and Twelve Mile is a great place to live. Not perfect, but home to me and lots of other honest hard working people.

  3. […] Also, I can use the logs to see who is linking to the Twelve Mile Circle in a proper, friendly manner. There have been several occasions when I’ve discovered wonderful resources and topics that I didn’t know existed. […]

  4. Jamie Taylor says:

    I just thought I would comment on your little blog entry about Twelve Mile. I find it funny to read other people’s thoughts on this small area because I have grown up around here my whole life. Every year when I was little I would go to the Christmas Pageant and this year I go to search to see when it will be and I find your blog. Hope you eventually make it to our little area for the race one year. You will feel like a member of the community just from one little visit!!

  5. Howder says:

    Thanks for the kind invite, Jamie. I like to see things that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world when I travel, so I would definitely stop by Twelve Mile, Indiana if I were within a hundred miles of it. I’d probably travel even further if it was the day of the lawnmower race!

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