Blast From The Past: Anaheim, CA 1989 – “Something Broo-ing”

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the “Blast from the Past’ blog where I, TMB Videographer Colby Marshall, review classic and especially not-so-classic shows from the glory days of monster truck competition. I’ll be doing this in a light-hearted, playfully sarcastic manner so don’t take offense, and let’s all sit back, have a few laughs and remember the way things used to be.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!! Or, I should say OH MY! Look, its Ken Broo! He welcomes us to “The Big A” in Anaheim for USHRA’s 1989 stop (YouTube would be a good place to look if you want to follow along).

Wait, what the holy heck is that thing?!? Its the legendary Orange Blossom Express monster tank train thing. Joining Ken Broo will be Mike Galloway, who is riding shotgun (assistant conductor?) with Allen Gaines. Ken Broo lets loose the most dispassionate “Oh my.” I have ever heard. This was, of course, half a sentence…”Oh my, I am watching my career circle the toilet with this one.” Mike Galloway jumps down and says “HI KEN!” as they embrace. The gaze into each other’s eyes that they share is just long enough to make me VERY uncomfortable. California being a progressive state and what not, I decide to just move on. In the background, Allen Gaines and the greatest hair in the history of the world climb out onto the tracks of OBE. He perches up there like Poe’s Raven or something. “Nevermore will I be taken seriously for building this abomination”. We find out that there will be two brackets of racing…one with Monster Trucks, the other with Monster Tanks. Winners face each other. (Hold on as I flip my sarcasm switch to the on position) OH YAY! Another of THESE battles. Next…wait…no way…OK, I couldn’t make this up. A train passed my house just as OBE pulls away and Ken Broo sends us to a commercial break. It must be a sign that I chose the right event…

Or maybe not.

We come back from commercial as Mike Galloway attempts to explain the complex braking system on the brand-spanking-new AM/PM Rocket. Apparently, the output shaft feeds into this top loader rear end that has a rotor that spins under a caliper…WHAT THE &%$# ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?!? Next, he decides it is time to describe the rear steering system. It turns using an extremely sophisticated toggle switch that is an extremely simple solution to turning the rear tires on these trucks. OK, now my head hurts. A lot. Big truck with big tires crushes small car. All I need to know, Mike.

Ken Broo describes the track next. Now, with the history of events in Anaheim, this is no easy task. Ken decides its time to make a play for the Baseball Tonight staff, and he proceeds to tell us that they start at home plate, race up the foul lines over a set of cars, then turn in center field and go over another set of cars.

Two on, two out in the bottom of the third as Hot Stuff and AM/PM Rocket come to the plate. Debbie Rhoden will take on Jim Ries. Rocket was brand new here, and Debbie Rhoden had fairly recently taken over the Hot Stuff ride. Ken Donat, just off screen, seems to have forgotten his flags this time around. He raises his hands and drops them Pinks-style. Unlike last time we saw him here on the Blast From the Past, he has found a relatively safe spot from which to start the trucks. We are progressing. Debbie Rhoden singles into left field and tears off down the first base line. Jim Ries, having never seen baseball, apparently, heads up the third base line. Rhoden gets all squirly as she trips over the first base bag, and gets it up on two wheels. Ries capitalizes and and heads across the large dirt mound out in, well, center field. Guess I shouldn’t have given ol’ Kenny-boy a hard time about that one, eh? They are about even coming into the final turn, but Ries makes one of the best turns I have ever seen, and takes the win as he crosses the final set.

Wait, wait, wait…looks like I spoke too soon about Ken Broo here. Allow me to bring to you his color commentary contributions to the previous race…

“Oh my goodness.”
“Oh my goodness.”
“Oh man.”
“Oh man.”
“Oh my goodness.”

All of this, of course, is going on under Mike Galloway’s ramblings about the race. I wonder if Ken Broo, when he goes home at night after his current job as a sports talk guy in Ohio, goes into a full body shudder and has nightmares of calling these shows.

Well, we go back to the batter’s box, and Bigfoot 7 is lining up against…AM/PM Rocket? Apparently, “The Wrangler” was supposed to race Foot here, but broke or something. You know the Wrangler as High Voltage, which was apparently new for this show, or so I have heard. Either way, we go straight to the Monster Truck final, as Jim “Chuck Norris” Kramer takes on Jim Ries. Those amazing on-screen graphics tell us that Bigfoot 7 weighs in at a svelte 23,000 pounds. Bigfoot 5 would like to have a word with you, Mr. ESPN Tech Director. They take off, with Kramer taking the early lead. However, unlike Bigfoot 4, numero 7 can’t handle the awesomeness that is Jim Kramer, and begins to smoke badly. Kramer, apparently hindered by that pesky not being able to see through the smoke thing, has trouble with the final turn. Ries, on the other hand, makes another epic turn in Rocket. Ries clears the cars and….OUCH!!! He augers the truck right into the side of one of the dirt hills and folds up the front end. I am fairly sure that didn’t buff out. Looks like Ramen noodles for a month for everyone at Golden State, because that has to be a rather pricey repair. We cut to a shot of a smoking Bigfoot 7 (say no to smoking, kids) as the announcers tell us that Kramer won the race. We will address that misconception shortly. But first, we dust off the old VOICE BASSIFIER AND REVERBERATOR 9000 , because it is time for…


“There’s a lesson. Never give up, even when, ya know, it doesn’t look great.”

There you have it, folks! KEN BROO’S LIFE LESSON OF THE NIGHT!!!

We go the the replay of the last race. Mike Galloway tells us that “Jim Ries made a good jump.” Only if you like $15,000 repair bills, Mike. He then tells us that they have just received word that The Rocket won that race. Keen Broo is incredulous, wondering how that could be if he…but Galloway cuts him off. You see, Mike guesses the finish line must be at the end of the cars. Wow guys, thanks for that information we could have used, oh I dunno, at the beginning of the darn show! Ugh. Lets just go to the bloody tanks…

We have Ernie Brookins in Trak Attack taking on Phil Tonseth in California Gold. Apparently, California Gold was completed at 3PM that same day. Glad to see USHRA booking trucks on speculation. Galloway runs down the list of specs on Trak Attack, including the Lenco Air Shift transmission. Up in Champaign, Illinois, Tim Hall just smiled. Hi, Tim!!! And, like many of Raminator’s contests, this race wasn’t even close. Cali Gold tries to bunt in a home run hitting contest. Brookins just owns him, but not before darn near endo’ing a tank. No easy task. Tons of smoke fills the inside on Trak Attack, as Ernie lifts the body and asks for some Cheetos and a hot dog.

We shows shots of the crush cars next, as Galloway and Broo make the requisite jokes about the first one being Ken Broo’s rental.

Up to bat next are Bigfoot Fastrax and Orange Blossom Express. RBC himself, Bob Chandler, taking on Allen Gaines. Truly a battle of legends in their respective sports. That said, Allen Gaines isn’t participating in his sport, now is he? No, he has a train…with tank tracks. Maybe Ernie Brookins shared some of what he was enjoying in that last race with Allen, and out of his head popped this idea. Only thing that makes sense to me. Well, here we are, many bags of Cheetos later, and the race begins. Any sense of euphoria for Mr. Gaines quickly turns into an absolute terror. It looks like Bobble head night in Anaheim, and he gets tossed around inside. He appears to have no harness and be sitting on top of a recently-sprung Jack-In-The-Box. OH NO!!! OH NO!!! HIS HEAD FLEW OFF!!! THE MAN’S HEAD FLEW OFF!!! Wait, it was just his helmet. Meanwhile, RBC is way out ahead and, despite some trouble on the last turn, takes an easy victory in this race. Mike Galloway chimes in at this point. “I’ve gotta say Allen Gaines is a winner tonight.” Yep, except for the whole losing thing. The ONLY way that Allen Gaines won tonight is if he has stock in Tylenol or something. I have had some pretty abusive hobbies over the years, but that run had to hurt something fierce in the morning. Lets just go to the tank finals, shall we?

Trak Attack and Bigfoot Fastrax are ready to go. Galloway informs us that both are based on Korean War-vintage M55 Retriever chassis designs…woof. Donat drops the arms and off we go! Immediately, the windshield on Trak Attack fogs up. You are such a hippie, Brookins! Chandler takes a sizable lead, but again has trouble with the final turn. This allows Brookins to groove his way across the final set first, and take a far out win. So, that sets up Teak Attack and Bigfoot 7. AM/PM Rocket is obviously done for the night after that wreck. But wait, it appears that Trak Attack is broken, as well. “Broken”, of course, being slang for arrested for possession. Ken Broo makes the brilliant analogy that this is like the Miss America pageant, where the winner can’t fulfill her duties and the first runner-up takes her place. Ken, I know both Jim Kramer and Bob Chandler. And, while they are fantastic guys and great minds, I swear that if either of them ever won Miss America, I would go ahead and immigrate to Tajikistan.

So, we have an all-Bigfoot final round. RBC pinch hitting for Brookins, taking on Kramer, who is pinch running for Ries. Next is the swimsuit competition. Kramer absolutely eats Chandler alive on the start line, as RBC takes a break to count his millions of dollars from inventing a sport. Despite this, Chandler makes a great run of it, catching up with Jim Kramer. Little known fact about Jim Kramer is that he was born in a log cabin that he built with his own two hands. (Thank you to Mrs. Kramer for that one) It is a close race at the line, with Galloway saying he thought Fastrax took it. Jim Kramer throws his hands up, asking a track official who won the race. He knows…

Its Bigfoot 7 taking the win by the slightest of margins. RBC springs forth from out of nowhere to shake Jim Kramer’s hand. Seriously, he just sort of appeared with some Matrix-style move straight on to the left front of 7. Probably the most impressive move of the night. Ken Broo sends us away, informing us that this was a presentation of Bud Sports through the facilities of ESPN…but that is not watch grabs my attention. No, that honor goes to the Roman numerals telling us the year of broadcast…MCMLXXXVIIII?

Oh, Mr. ESPN Tech Director? Your middle school social studies teacher would like to review your Roman numerals answers with you.

Well, off to the TV station for another day of work for yours truly. Until next time, OLD SCHOOL RULES!!!


  1. Chris Allen says:

    It says that at the end of the race, both trucks (or tanks) have to land squarely on the crush cars. If one tire or tread is on the ground, that driver is DQed.

  2. Michael Iacono says:

    I love reading these, mostly beacuse the humor is from the over exageration of the commentators, (and how they try to expalin everything, and FAIL). Just one complaint, If you are going to put in a link for the race, make sure it is the right on, as you can see from the above comment, he is totally lost after reading your commentery and watching the wrong show. (not his fault)
    mistakes aside (like my spellimg), these flash backs are histerical!!!

  3. Clinton Wall says:

    love the flashbacks ! and HEY MIKE congrats again on the Monster Jam POD tournament win…i was your competion…glad to see ya checkin out the blog :)

  4. TheMonsterBlogger says:

    Mike, thanks for the heads up, we have corrected the link to the corresponding 1989 Anaheim event.


    “Ernie Brookins! TANK ATTACK! TANK ATTACK!”

    No comments about the 4 dozen people running around on the track as Fastrax comes charging towards them? I love 1980s monster truck safety.

    OBE and Bigfoot 7 are listed at the same weight according to ESPN Graphics Man lol

    “…Jim Kramer is that he was born in a log cabin that he built with his own two hands” LMAO!! yes.

    I suck at Roman numerals too… is that 1979?

  6. This is some funny stuff. I loved the ‘life lesson’ part about me. In all candor, I had a blast doing these events with my Oklahoma buddy, Galloway. Some of the drivers were real characters. Alan Gaines was someone who was a joy to be around, very generous with his time.

    Ken Broo

  7. Thank you so much for reading, Ken, I am glad you seem to understand the purpose of these columns. I grew up watching you and mike Galloway and Allen Gaines, and truly love these old events as a huge part of my childhood. I was traveling through Eastern Indiana a couple months ago, and it was a treat hearing you on the radio over there. Reminded me of the good ole’ days for me. Thank you again!

  8. It’s always fun reading these because when I was young, I didn’t know any better about the announcing. Then, you compare it to the announcing you hear today and it’s like night and day. That being said, at the USHRA events in the late 1980’s, Ken Broo and Mike Galloway we the most fun to listen to. They complemented each other so well, and when it came to talking about Allen Gaines, oh the fun they had.

    I was a huge fan of the entire Orange Blossom Special line of vehicles. I didn’t know what to expect when I first heard Allen wanted to build a monster tank, but then out came this creation and I was like “only Allen.” I actually have drawn that tank and I get complements on it all the time.

    Keep em coming Colby…these are so much fun.

  9. Steve Mayfield says:

    These are just halarious! The above comment is so true…Mike Galloway and Ken Broo did a great job with these USHRA shows in the 80’s. It was great to see Mike as a guest in the TNN Motor Madness shows in 97 and 98…even though they had more of a wrestling-theme. Good stuff guys! How bout commentin on some of the TNT shows?? Just a thought…

  10. Does anyone know where Allens tank ended up? I’ve been scouring the internet and have found nothing. I’m dying to see it in person. Any info please shoot me an email. Thanks!

  11. Michael Iacono says:

    Hey Colby,
    the Roman numerals are actually correct on the ending screen, it stands for 1989.
    thats the reason why no one uses those past the number 10 (except football) its to freaking complicated, haha
    (i had to use internet to find that out, im not nearly that neerdy (except for monster trucks, then i am)

  12. Actually, the proper display of 9 is IX, not VIIII. The incorrectly-listed MCMLXXXVIIII is broken down into M for 1000, CM for 900 , LXXX for 80 and VIIII is incorrect for 9, which would be proper at IX. Correct would be MCMLXXXIX. 1989. History/Social Studies/Civics lesson done…LOL. Thanks for reading!

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