On Memorial Day, we celebrate and thank all of the soldiers that have given their lives while serving our country. It also marks the beginning of our summer season. There are parades, craft fairs, and cookouts. And, of course, auto racing.

The Indianapolis 500 was run for the 103rd time on Sunday with over 300,000 fans in attendance. Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud won in a Chevrolet. In NASCAR, the Coca Cola 600 was run in Charlotte in front of 100,000 fans. Martin Truex Jr. in a Toyota won the exciting race that had 16 cautions and multiple wrecks. Both races are preceded by the traditional pomp and circumstance, including military personnel, 21-gun salutes, bands, patriotic songs, and flyovers.

But before all of this, another race was held that is destined to become as big — no, perhaps even bigger — than the Indy 500 or the Coca Cola 600. It was right here in the Lakes Region. Drivers and teams from around the globe quietly made their way to Meredith on the Thursday before Memorial Day.

These seasoned professionals were headed to the Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association’s first annual Lakes Region Belt Sander races. It was held at the Middleton Building Supply’s newly constructed (but temporary) indoor racing facility at 157 Main St. There are no weather delays at this track; you can be assured of that. While attendance was slightly less than the Coca Cola 600, it is hoped that the addition of sky-boxes in the near future will boost attendance in the coming years. The admission was free (what do you think an Indy 500 ticket costs?) and, as a bonus, the fans also enjoyed a free barbecue!

Some of you may be unfamiliar with this worldwide sport that is gaining much attention in the press. Two belt sanders (the kind that do-it-yourselfers use to sand their floors down) are put side-by-side on a 30-foot track … think of drag strip. They are plugged into extension cords and a master switch lights both machines up at the same time. They cover the track in a couple of seconds, reaching blazing speeds of up to 60 mph.

There are stock and modified divisions and sander owners are allowed to customize the appearance and add guide systems to keep their sander going straight (hopefully.) Of course, there is always a debate over which is the best grit sandpaper for the track conditions. There is an award for the best-decorated machine. Many of the teams took this inaugural race very seriously and spent hundreds of seconds getting ready for it. Many manufactures were represented, including Craftsman, Porter Cable, Chicago Electric, Ryobi, and Makita. Mercedes and Ferrari were no-shows. They were likely intimidated.

After dining on dogs and burgers, Race Coordinator Kurt Clason uttered those most famous words in motor racing; “Gentlemen and Ladies, Click your switches!” The huge field of a dozen or so hi-performance machines matched up in double-elimination heats to determine a champion.

This sport is not for the faint of heart. It is dangerous. There were lots of crashes, spins, and running out of fuel (the extension can become unplugged!) This was intense competition.

In the end, it came down to two Porter Cable machines going head-to-head in a two-out-of-three shootout. The overall winner was Steve Custance of Team Custance Brothers with Paul Muckerheide of Team Granite State Hydroshield coming in second. The advertised winner’s purse of $1 million was not awarded due to lack of funds. The Sassy Sanders Team, comprised of Marylena Sevigney, Patti Phelps, and Marie Degulis, won the best-decorated. Jeremy Doucet and the Smooth Criminals Team from Lighthouse Contracting Group won the Modified Award with his confetti-spitting, Nitros Oxcide induced VW…

So what’s all this got to do with real estate? Well, the Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association is dedicated to “promoting, protecting and preserving the home building industry as a viable economic force in the Lakes Region area.” It provides a platform for networking and learning for its members. The LRBRA puts on the annual and much-anticipated Parade of Homes tour every Columbus Day weekend which showcases our area builders’ work and suppliers’ products and materials. The proceeds from this amazing tour of beautiful homes benefit the Workforce Development Program at the Huot Technical Center which inspires younger people to get into the trades as a profession. Pretty cool! The Huot Technical Center is currently building its third tiny home under the watchful eye of Building Instructor Matt Towle. LRBRA members help plan out the build, work hand-in-hand with the students on all-day builds, and provide aid and materials for the tiny home.

Thanks to Engraving and Awards for the winners’ plaques, Pella Windows and Secondwind Water Systems for the raffle prizes, and a special thanks to Middleton Building Supply for hosting the event. If you don’t have a belt sander, they probably have one they will sell you.

To learn more about The Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association, go to www.lakesregionbuilders.com. You might want to race next year….

Visit www.DistinctiveHomesNH.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and sign up for a monthly newsletter. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty. Contact him at 603-677-7012.

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