Syrup races take over W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds

KELOLAND Sports Basketball Classic

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The racing community in Sioux Falls is gearing up for a unique competition this weekend. It’s called the Outlaw Indoor Syrup Races and if you’re wondering, yes, the racers really do compete on a flat surface covered in several gallons of syrup.

12-year-old Jacob Peterson and his brother Trever from Hartford are excited to battle each other this weekend at Sioux Falls’ inaugural Outlaw Indoor Syrup Races.

“Pretty much just have the frame, a go-kart motor but it just has a cage and it is supposed to look like a sprint car,” Peterson said.

The Petersons come from a racing family but fighting for position on dozens of gallons of syrup will be new.

“It’s going to be interesting racing on syrup because I’ve never done it. So I don’t know what to expect,” Peterson said.

“It’s motorcycles, ATVs, go-karts, winged-kage karts and outlaw lawn mowers,” Chad Mellenberndt said.

Mellenberndt is the Race Coordinator. He says sticking these syrup races at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls fills a big void.

“It used to be popular. Then it kind of faded off for a while. We just figured that there was not a whole lot of racing going on in this area and this is a real racing community. So we needed to get something going,” Mellenberndt said.

Mellenberndt is expecting hundreds of racers to show up. There are open practices tonight with race day revving up this Saturday inside the Expo Building. In the meantime, organizers are laying down the syrup that acts as a traction aid.

“You spray the coke syrup down. Then it’s sticky so they’re not slipping and sliding and crashing. Then as it heats up and warms up it forms rubber. It lays rubber and forms a groove that they race on,” Mellenberndt said.

It sounds complicated but these local racers seem confident.

“I’ll race on anything,” Peterson said.

“Sometimes it can really be a fun race because last time we raced it was a good one,” Trever said.

It should be an exciting yet sticky competition.

“They’re just going to see a lot of racing action and hopefully just have a lot of fun,” Mellenberndt said.

Organizers hope these syrup races will serve as the kickoff to the race season in this region. They also say once the races are over, the syrup just washes right off the surface using a pressure washer.

Tickets are $10 for kids 10 and under and $15 for adults. Gates open at four Friday night and 9 a.m. on Saturday.

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