Battle at the Barn 20151/21/2015
With floors sticky enough to remove the shoes from your feet, you might think you’re in a low-rent movie theatre. But this is just how they like it on the racetrack. The roar of tiny engines is sure to impress even the causal spectator, as everything from motorcycles to lawn mowers zip around the Coke syrup-coated track at this year’s Battle at the Barn.
“Last year we had 356 entries from 11 states and right about 5,000 fans,” said Toby Kruse, promoter. “The pre-entries are up a little from last year, right now about 45, though the entry fee is the same the day of the event, so only a small portion pre-enter.”
This year marks a new setup for the Battle at the Barn, which will be held at the Jacobson Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The new format will see the first round of heats run on Friday night after an afternoon practice session. Upon the completion of the heats, $200-to-win feature events will be run for the top 12 finishers in five classes. The Friday features will involve 370 Clones, KT100, Stock Medium, Pro Bikes and Quad A. On Saturday, there will be a two-hour practice session, with heats beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the features set for 5:30 p.m.
“The most hardcore racing for the fans are the adult karts and Quad A class,” said Kruse. “These are the highest paying and most aggressive racers we have. The most entertaining and the true crowd favorite is the lawn mowers; you have to see it to believe it.”
With 29 different classes in the competition, there is always something to bring a smile to race fans in the cold of the Iowa winters at the biggest indoor Coke syrup race in the Midwest. Over the past few years, the Outlaw Lawn Mowers have continued to grow and have become a fan favorite. Along with the lawn mowers, fans will be thrilled with go-karts, four-wheelers, outlaw three-wheelers, outlaw cage carts and motorcycles.
“These events are not for the weak or timid, as history has proved. New racers are always amazed at how strenuous the racing is on them,” said Kruse. “You would be amazed at the G-Force and the ability it takes to compete in any class.”
Kruse said the number of fans and the influence of streaming TV channels on the Internet have been the biggest changes since the Battle at the Barn began seven years ago. Fortunately, fans who are unable to attend the event can tune into Speed Shift TV online to catch the races.
While it’s impressive to see growth with any event, Kruse isn’t too shocked by the sport’s popularity. Most racers who participate started out simply buying a used kart or four-wheeler and have been a fan or neighbor of someone who has raced before, said Kruse.
“People always need an escape from reality, and I believe the American culture has always had a love of speed and competitive sports. Racing offers both,” Kruse said. “The racing bug can bite, and it is a hard habit to quit!” CV
Battle at the Barn
Jacobson Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds
Two-day pit pass $40 or $25/day
Grandstand admission: $8 Friday, $14 Saturday or $16 both days
Doors open 10 a.m. Friday with practice at 3 p.m. and round one heats at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday practice at 11 a.m. with heats at 1:30 p.m. and feature events at 5:30 p.m.
David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Cost to participate ranges from $25–$50. Download entry form at www.battleatthebarn.com