Top of the Morning, Sept. 4, 2014
Arcola's famous Lawn Rangers have a home game this weekend, participating in Saturday's 3 p.m. parade at the Broomcorn Festival.
"There's nothing better than marching in our hometown parade in Arcola," 2003 Lawn Ranger Hall of Famer Kevin Monahan said.
Even better than appearing in President Obama's inauguration parade in 2009?
"Between the two, one parade provides a great deal of hope to the everyman, the other is just a coronation for the president," Monahan said.
Here's more from Monahan on the "precision lawn mower drill team," which will be about 100 strong and — if the crowd demands it — might just walk the parade route twice Saturday.
What's more popular at the Broomcorn Festival: the Lawn Rangers or the beer tent?
Tough call. Both are staples of the festival and both provide a great service to the public.
Who draws a bigger crowd Saturday, the Lawn Rangers or Illinois football?
Paid attendance-wise, I think Illinois wins but it's close because the Lawn Rangers are free. As long as people come in with the right expectations, you'll walk away happy. For instance, going to the Illini game, you should expect the Illini to compete and play hard. But when attending the parade and watching the Lawn Rangers, you should expect to see the greatest spectacle your eyes have ever seen.
Who's the youngest in the group? Oldest?
Age has never been a qualifier for our group as our motto, coined by our co-founder Pat Monahan, is 'You're only young once but you can always be immature. That being said, our younger Rangers are college aged and some of our elder statesmen like 'Rocky' Rothrock and The News-Gazette's very own Lou Engel have made it into their 90s and 80s and lived to tell about the experience.
How are today's Lawn Rangers different than the first group in 1980?
We are basically the same ragtag group of farmers, lawyers, plumbers, factory workers, businessmen and teachers that like to have a good time. It has always been about the 'fellership.' The only changes over the years have been that we have a lot more Rangers and a lot fewer mustaches.
Toro or Black & Decker?
The mower choice is a crucial one in our line of business. My personal choice is a Lawn Boy with the engine replaced by a lounge chair.
What's on the Lawn Rangers' bucket list?
We've done the inauguration, NFL and College Football Hall of Fames, St. Pat's in Chicago and St. Louis, the Holiday Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. I think the real hope is for the Lawn Rangers to continue to entertain parade-goers and each other for many years to come. Hopefully, Amazing Arcola can continue to show people how to have a good time.