NEW ULM - There's just something about racing a small kart around a dirt track at speeds up to 60 miles per hour that gets Nathan Brehmer's blood flowing.
The same can be said for Javen Osterman and Cameron Dauer.
Brehmer, who is 14 years old, doesn't spend his summers playing baseball like a lot of his classmates here in New Ulm. Instead, Brehmer races a go-kart every other Friday night, and he has more than 60 trophies to show his friends.
Cameron Dauer with his go-kart.
Javen Osterman with his kart.
Nathan Brehmer with his kart and trophies
Brehmer races at the I-90 Speedway in Blue Earth. This year he figures to be the league champion based on points accumulated with just one race left.
Although kart racing isn't a very popular sport here in New Ulm, Brehmer, Osterman and Dauer have found a lot of success on the tracks that they race at. And the love for the sport all started from dad.
"My dad bought a go-kart one day and asked if I wanted to race, because he raced for a while," Nathan Brehmer said.
Brehmer races in the Junior 2 Flat Head class at the I-90 Speedway in Blue Earth.
Every other week, the Brehmer's make the trip to the track in Blue Earth for the Friday night race. There, they compete with about 7-12 different racers, and so far Brehmer is blowing the competition away. As of this weekend, he leads his class by 46 points, so basically he just has to start the next race and finish it in order to take first place in his class.
"I've gotten second place in my class the last four years, so I think it'll feel pretty good," Brehmer said.
Javen Osterman is 12 years old and has been racing go-karts for about 2 1?2 years. Osterman got involved with the sport after his dad Joad brought it up and Javen decided to give it a try.
"I used to race karts and I used to race sprint cars," Joad Osterman said. "A friend of mine that I used to race with started a track in Cokato, and they rented karts, so we got to see how we liked it before I put a bunch of money into it."
The rental later helped the Ostermans decide they wanted to buy their own kart, and soon after Javen was competing on area tracks. Osterman has also been a quick learner on the track. Although he's had a short career of racing so far, he's managed to pick up about 40 trophies.
Last year, Osterman finished second in his class in points. This year, he's way ahead of everyone, so finishing first and bringing home the championship trophy looks inevitable.
"I think about it [the possibility of winning it all], but he [his dad] tells me not to," Javen said.
Osterman also races at the I-90 Speedway in Blue Earth and he competes in the Junior 1 Flat Head Class.
He said the adrenaline of racing every other weekend is what keeps him going.
The Ostermans also put in about five hours a week or so on kart maintenance, and that of course makes for good father-son bonding time.
And both Ostermans think that racing will continue to be the family sport for years to come.
"I've never really been big into sports so racing was always my thing I guess. It came easier to me," Joad said.
Like Osterman and Brehmer, Dauer too is enjoying a successful year on the track. He is also expected to win his class, the Jr. 2 Flat Head. But he does the majority of his racing at Cedar Mills Speedway in Hutchinson, so he doesn't compete with Brehmer, who is in the same class in Blue Earth.
And like both Brehmer and Osterman, the Dauer's race every other weekend in Hutchinson and they seem to like the competition they get twice a month.
"That's been our home track since we started in 2005," said Kevin Dauer, who is Cameron Dauer's dad. "This is our fifth season now."
Dauer also plays team sports, but he said that he likes the individual aspect of racing.
"I'm just better at this than team sports, I'm not sure why," he said. "It's all in my control."
His family also figured that kart racing is much safer to do than riding a 4-wheeler. And Dauer has also been a safe rider on the kart. So far, he's managed to race five years with the same kart, something unheard of because the karts take a pounding after a while.
And Dauer said that he's met a lot of friends through the competition, another thing that keeps him coming back every other week.
Dauer also said it costs about $1,000-$1,500 to buy a kart and a little extra for maintenance every year, so it's a relatively inexpensive sport to be involved with.
Also, for the fans, watching the competition is free, so there's not a lot of money thrown around compared to some other hobbies or sports.
"You don't need to spend tons of money, there's the initial investment that costs you some money," Kevin Dauer said. "There's the maintenance and the entry fee, but that's about it."