So long story short, at the beginning of last season my ex-wife (wife at the time) took my mower out to mow the lawn in April to surprise me while I was away for he weekend. One large pop and lots of black smoke later, the mower never ran again. So in a pinch a friend sold me their really old rider for $100 and I figured I could get by with it for one season. That was last season and now that I'm divorced, the mower has died and I don't have much money to buy a new mower. I would like a zero turn because I get the impression they are faster and they look like a lot more fun than the two tractors I've had. I have two and a half acres of flat treeless lawn. I really can't spend more than $3500 on a mower. I live in Hudson, Wisconsin and so I'm sure there are dealers here in farm country for mowers and I have gathered that's a much better way to go then getting something at home depot etc. if I can find something I can afford. What brands do you trust and recommend? Thanks for the expertise.