The Allen Report: Maricopa County Fair Monster Trucks – Phoenix, AZ 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report, we make a short trip over to the Arizona State Fairgrounds, which sees a wide variety of entertainment forms over the course of a calendar year, from expos and trade shows to concerts and, on two of the last three days of the 2016 Maricopa County Fair, earth shaking, sky touching monster trucks. Six of the best monster trucks in the southwest arrived in the Sanderson Ford Arena to do battle in an all freestyle event on Friday, and side by side racing as well as freestyle on Sunday.

Making the trip over from Menifee, California were the father and son duo of Rick and Eric Swanson. Rick drove his beautiful 20th Anniversary body on his usual Obsession while former Young Guns Shootout competitor Eric took time off from his trophy truck body and reverted to his longstanding pickup shell on Obsessed. Driving up from Tucson, Arizona were all three trucks in the Sturges Motorsports entourage. Per usual, Sam Sturges drove the 1942 Dodge Panel Wagon Unnamed & Untamed. Longtime friend Gary Ely took the helm of fan favorite Nasty Boy and Cesar Nunez made the trip across the border from Mexico to pilot the 1963 split window Corvette Rat Attack. Finally, Rod Wood’s stepson Murphy McCrorey got behind the wheel of McGruff the Crime Dog.

To open the freestyle only show on Friday evening, each monster made a jump over an obstacle on the floor one after the other. Unfortunately for Sam Sturges, the intro saw an input shaft in the transmission break, bringing his night to a premature end. To raise the curtain on the competition, Rick Swanson played it cool, getting decent air off the cross thread jump in the middle and finishing it up with his customary donuts. Next up was Murphy in McGruff, in his first monster truck action since a car accident a few years ago. Murphy lived up to his nickname “Werewolf”, starting with a great entry jump, cleared the double in the middle of the floor, and got some great cyclones, making it look like he had never left the driver’s seat. Cesar Nunez was not to be outdone, getting even bigger air and continuing the donut craze. Last out was the 20 year old rising star Eric Swanson. Early in his run, he shot for the moon off the cross thread jump and landed hard on the left rear tire, causing all kinds of damage to the rear end of the truck. Despite the mishap, the crowd was roaring for the kid. With the next show not until Sunday, all the teams with broken trucks had no shortage of time to get their machines back together.

On Sunday a huge crowd piled into the grandstand ready for some hot and heavy, heads up competition. In the opening round of reverse Chicago style racing, innocence briefly trumped experience as Eric Swanson in his fully repaired Obsessed upset the Unnamed and Untamed vehicle. Sam Sturges still advanced, however, as the fastest loser. When both Rick and Eric dispensed of their semi final round opponents, all signs pointed to a great final. And it didn’t disappoint, with the father getting the jump over the son off the start line, but Eric had made up the ground halfway home. With all eyes on the finish line, Eric just barely hit his finish line jump before his dad, taking the racing win.

In freestyle, Sam Sturges was angry after losing twice in racing, and it showed in his driving, getting huge air off the double and carrying on a team tradition with gorgeous slap wheelies. During one of these moves, Sam kept the move going right over the grandstand side racing jump. Murphy McCrorey was on another roll with McGruff before the head gasket in the transmission snapped, ending his weekend. Gary Ely gave an admirable effort in Nasty Boy with very good hang time and decent attempts at slap wheelies. Much to the delight of the fans, both Rick and Eric Swanson entered the floor right behind the other and started a game of follow the leader. The fans were on their feet for the father and son pair as they stepped out of their monsters to end the afternoon show.

In the fair closing evening show, Obsessed got a bye run with only five trucks. But in the semi final round against Rat Attack, Eric never got going, giving an easy win to the sleek hot rod monster and with it a berth in the finals. Rick Swanson ended Unnamed and Untamed’s racing night to advance to the finals and one last shot at a racing win. Rick poured on the gas in the straightaways and took the win to evenly split the racing glory between his son and himself.

In the last monster competition of the weekend, Sam Sturges gave excellent slap wheelies, continued to reach for the sky and turned in an overall exciting run. Cesar Nunez refused to be upstaged and turned in some great air off the double jump and some fast donuts to put himself in the hunt for the win. But the fans got on their feet once more when again Eric and Rick Swanson took to the floor in their monsters at the same time. Both went the wrong way up the rarely used step up behind the double, and turned in some dizzying donuts to end the monster entertainment at the fair.

In other action, the crowd was treated to smash n bash, all or nothing democross racing, a combination of off road racing and demolition derby. Fans cheered on and on as intentional spinouts, heavy contact and all around vehicular assault played out in front of them. Well, next we at “The Allen Report” seek to return to Turlock, California, for the popular annual Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals, featuring eight big monster trucks, two mini monsters, ride trucks and freestyle motocross. Look for more coverage coming then. Well, thank you for reading, a special thanks to Zack McKinley and all the Grand Canyon State Promotions crew for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2016.

TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 3.2 – Toughest Monster Truck Tour – Rio Rancho, NM 2016

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Episode Information

Event: Toughest Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Santa Ana Star Center
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Date: January 22nd-23rd, 2016
Videographer: Rajeana Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

Dawg Pound – Vern House
Dirt Crew – Jerry Beck
Heavy Hitter – Derick Anson
Over Bored – Jamey Garner
Quad Chaos – Aaron Cain
Summit Bigfoot #18 – Dan Runte

Featured Links

www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.DirtShows.com
www.OverBoredMonsterTruck.com
www.ToughestMonsterTrucks.com

[Read more…]

The Allen Report: All Star Monster Truck Tour – West Valley City, UT 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to West Valley City, Utah, just outside Salt Lake. It’s a city with an extensive sports résumé from the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, to minor league baseball, to major league hockey and basketball. But on this weekend, the All Star Monster Truck Tour arrived in the Maverik Center with six car crushing, high flying monster trucks. All the way from Lafayette, Indiana was Aaron Cain piloting the world’s largest ATV, Quad Chaos. Right behind was teammate Jerry Beck behind the wheel of the world’s only flying dump truck, the Dodge bodied Dirt Crew. During the pit parties, there were some construction toys behind Dirt Crew for the kids to play with. Tucson, Arizona’s own Unnamed & Untamed was in the house, driven by Sam Sturges, as was Nasty Boy with Derek Ritter at the controls. Defending the Utah home turf was West Jordan’s Ron Duncombe and the Maverik Monster Trakker. Finally, Kreg Christensen from South Willard took time off from the Australian monster truck circuit to bring his radical looking part Studebaker, part Camaro monster known as Wicked to the arena.

Wheelie contest, single pass obstacle course racing and freestyle were the weekend’s competitions for the monsters. With points on the line for every discipline to determine an overall champion in each show, every round counted and consistency would win.

On Friday evening, things got off to a wild start when Nasty Boy, the first truck out in wheelie contest, went far beyond vertical and rolled onto its side. The driver was okay, but making only one of a maximum of two attempts meant his score wouldn’t be much, only 10 out of a possible 20. Unnamed & Untamed, a monster set up very well for wheelies, gave an admirable attempt off both the step up obstacle and the crush cars to take the lead with a score of 13. The very next truck was Dirt Crew and he gave an excellent run, pointing the dump truck’s nose towards the ceiling of the Maverik Center. The judges rewarded him with a score of 14. Jerry Beck was able to hold off both of the last two competitors to take the wheelie contest win and take the points lead.

In obstacle course, the imperfect figure 8 style track proved tricky for even the experienced drivers, as Sam Sturges turned in a lap in just under 22 seconds. Looking to better his chances at the overall championship, Jerry Beck threw down a very good pass to take the new fastest time at 18.54. But the twenty four year veteran of the sport, Kreg Christensen went even faster, clocking in a time of 16.37. The last truck in the order, Quad Chaos, couldn’t do better and Wicked stormed into the overall championship lead with only freestyle to go.

In the main event, Monster Trakker went out first as electrical problems kept Nasty Boy off the floor and out of the competition. Ron Duncombe’s efforts, including a decent sky wheelie and good air off the step up garnered him a score of 25 of a possible 40. Dirt Crew was fourth in line of the six trucks and put together an all-around exciting run. The professional judges gave him a score of 28 with only Wicked and teammate Quad Chaos left to go. But Kreg Christensen was a man on a mission, getting huge air off the FMX mountain, nailing a reverser over the crush cars and rarely letting off the loud pedal to get the crowd roaring. The judges rewarded his run with a 35 point score. Quad Chaos just couldn’t match the international superstar and Wicked took the freestyle and overall event championships to start the weekend.

In the first of two shows on Saturday, Sam Sturges improved greatly from the first show, pointing U&U’s nose at the roof of the arena. His efforts did not go unnoticed by the judges as his score was 14, leaving only a six point window in which Sam could be overtaken. Wicked and Dirt Crew both gave everything they had, but could only tie for second. Sam Sturges won the wheelie contest, making it two different winners in as many wheelie competitions.

Full of confidence after getting his first win of the weekend, Sam did not let up in the obstacle course, finishing his lap in a time of 20.91. Wicked was the fourth truck out in the ladder and slowed down a little from the first show with an elapsed time of 18.32, but it was still good enough to take the top spot on the grid. Next up was Quad Chaos, who fell short of the number one spot by just six-tenths of a second. The last truck in line, Dirt Crew, was a full second off the high watermark, giving back to back obstacle course wins to Kreg Christensen.

On to freestyle, where Ron Duncombe’s weekend came to a premature end when a hard landing off the FMX mountain blew out the rear shocks on both sides. Despite the damage, Ron’s score was still very good at 30, just ten points shy of perfection. Starting the second half of the field was the two time obstacle course winner, who soared through the afternoon sky off the FMX ramp, again hit the cars in reverse and stood on the throttle again and again to receive a score of 35. The last two monsters just couldn’t clear the bar and Wicked got back to back overall championships. With only the evening show to go, there was one more shot for the other drivers to stop the clean sweep from the twenty four year veteran.

When the biggest crowd all weekend piled into the Maverik Center for the last show, the stakes were high, and the drivers didn’t disappoint. Jerry Beck and Dirt Crew gave a spectacular wheelie contest run and got a score of 17 to boot, leaving the window of opportunity very small. Two time overall champion Wicked came the closest at 15, but it wasn’t enough to stop Dirt Crew from becoming the multi-time wheelie contest winner for the weekend.

During obstacle course racing, things got wild with the first two trucks in line. Unnamed & Untamed got up on two wheels but saved it. The lack of time on the board due to a DNF wasn’t enough to silence the crowd. Nasty Boy, even fighting electrical issues between shows also bicycled for a moment before saving it, all this before driver Derek Ritter had even staged for his run.

This gave the fans an even bigger reason to cheer. When Wicked took to the track, the time he had to beat, 19.39, had been laid down one run earlier by Dirt Crew. Kreg was up to the challenge, and he stepped up. The hybrid hot rod turned in a time that was faster than his nearest competitor by almost three seconds at 16.5. This meant that the overall championship clean sweep was within reach and the same feat for obstacle course had been done.

On to the crowd favorite freestyle, where Unnamed & Untamed got off to a fast start with wheelies and even donuts to get a score of 27. Quad Chaos went for one last shot to take a win with big air and clearing the crush cars. A score of 34 meant there was still room left for the two winningest trucks that had still to run. Both Dirt Crew and Wicked had incredible runs that had the crowd cheering on and on. In a strange turn of events, both trucks tied with scores of 35. But Wicked had more points coming into the cheer off, so the former Dragon Slayer owner and past Maximum Destruction driver already had the overall championship swept for the weekend. And when the crowd erupted in Kreg’s favor during the freestyle deciding cheer off, it was clear that the weekend sweep of the crowd favorite competition belonged to Wicked as well, closing out the weekend.

During a winning interview, Kreg revealed to an enthusiastic audience that the year 2017 marked his twenty-fifth year in the business and, with it, the return of the Dragon Slayer monster Hummer. Other action saw highly competitive Pro Arena Truck racing, a longstanding tradition at the Maverik Center. The racing was tight and fast with three different winners in as many races. Also, freestyle motocross rider Paul “Smitty” Smith gave the fans a wide variety of gravity defying, death cheating tricks, culminating in backflip variations.

Well, we now turn our attention to the biggest monster truck event in the world, the Monster Jam World Finals. The next edition of “The Allen Report” is currently slated to come to you from the Maricopa County Fair in our hometown of Phoenix. For up to the minute, instant updates from our travels, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram under “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris“. On that note, thank you for reading, a sincere thank-you to Bryan Wagner and the entire All Star Monster Truck Tour staff for their generous hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2016.

TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 3.1 – Monster Nation – Bossier City, LA 2016

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Episode Information

Event: Monster Nation
Venue: CenturyLink Center
Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
Date: January 15th-16th, 2016
Videographer: Shane Skinner

Featured Monster Trucks

Dawg Pound – Vern House
Dirt Crew – Jerry Beck
Heavy Hitter – Derick Anson
Over Bored – Jamey Garner
Quad Chaos – Aaron Cain
Summit Bigfoot #18 – Dan Runte

Featured Links

www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.DirtShows.com
www.OverBoredMonsterTruck.com
www.ToughestMonsterTrucks.com

[Read more…]

TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 2.5 – Toughest Monster Truck Tour – West Plains, MO 2015

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Episode Information

Event: Toughest Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds
Location: West Plains, Missouri
Date: August 21st-22nd, 2015
Videographer: Rajeana Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

Bounty Hunter – Jimmy Creten
Dawg Pound – Vern House
Heavy Hitter – Derick Anson
Over Bored – Jamey Garner
Scarlet Bandit – Dawn Creten
Summit Bigfoot #18 – Dan Runte

Featured Links

www.2XtremeRacing.com
www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.DirtShows.com
www.OverBoredMonsterTruck.com
www.ToughestMonsterTrucks.com

[Read more…]

TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 2.4 – Toughest Monster Truck Tour – Cedar Park, TX 2015

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Episode Information

Event: Toughest Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Cedar Park Center
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
Date: August 14th-15th, 2015
Videographer: Danny Maass

Featured Monster Trucks

Big Kahuna – Shane Phreed
Dawg Pound – Vern House
Heavy Hitter – Derick Anson
Over Bored – Jamey Garner
Summit Bigfoot #18 – Dan Runte

Featured Links

www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.DirtShows.com
www.OverBoredMonsterTruck.com
www.ToughestMonsterTrucks.com

[Read more…]

TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 2.3 – All Star Monster Truck Tour – Duchesne, UT 2015

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Episode Information

Event: All Star Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Duchesne County Fair
Location: Duchesne, Utah
Date: August 4th, 2015
Videographer: Lynette Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

Double Trouble – Tyler Groth
Iron Outlaw – Brian Maes
Knucklehead – Trent Montgomery
Odyssey Battery Bigfoot #19 (Darron Schnell)

Featured Links

www.2XtremeRacing.com
www.AllStarMonster.com
www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.MirrorImageRacing.com

[Read more…]

TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 2.2 – Monster X Tour – Jonesboro, AR 2015

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Episode Information

Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: ASU Convocation Center
Location: Jonesboro, Arkansas
Date: March 14th, 2015
Videographer: Ross Z. Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

American Muscle (Pierce Knight)
Ballistic (Mac Plecker)
California Kid (Tehvyn Goodwin)
Firestone Bigfoot #19 (Darron Schnell)
Rock Star (Bill Payne)

Featured Links

www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.ExtremeTeam4x4.com
www.MonsterXTour.com
www.StraightUpRacing.com

[Read more…]

The Allen Report: IMTM Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a trip by air to Auburn, Indiana, for the fifth consecutive year. Auburn is known as the former “little Detroit” where cars and racing have shaped the town since the 1930’s and still do, with a great number of automotive museums to attend. Once more, we went to the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum for the Fifth Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion. Nearly 300 people from places like Texas, Maryland and Washington State were in attendance to watch four iconic monster truck personalities become the twenty-second through twenty-fifth inductees into the International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame. A new record of both classic and current monster trucks were on display throughout the weekend.

• Team Bigfoot’s Original Monster Truck Bigfoot 1, the World’s Biggest Pickup Truck Bigfoot 5 and the World’s Only Electric Powered Monster Truck, Bigfoot 20.
• IMTM President and Creator Jeff Cook’s Shotgun Harry old school monster.
• First Hall of Fame class member Jeff Dane’s replica of the original King Kong.
• Andy Hoffman’s Nitecrawler tank, which was first Hall of Fame class member Allen Pezo’s Predator Tank earlier in its life.
• Regular attendee Thomas Borders’ 100% Monkey Business old school built monster.
• IMTM Vice President and third Hall of Fame class member Allen Pezo’s original Predator 1.
• First Hall of Fame class member Everett Jasmer brought both the 1988 TNT Monster Truck Challenge Champion USA-1 and its 2015 twin, driven by Roger Gauger of Quadzilla notoriety.
• Terry Woodcock’s recently restored original Cyclops
• Vaters Motorsports surprise truck, the restored original Equalizer

The Fifth International Monster Truck Hall of Fame class consisted of:
• Breen Boyz and Team Bigfoot driver legendary for his role as the “evil” Snake Bite driver Colt Cobra, Gene Patterson.
• Equalizer owner/driver David Morris
• Owner, builder and driver of twin engine monster truck GOLIATH, its faster racing twin GOLIATH’S REVENGE, the jet powered G Force and the Transtormer robot.
• And original TNT Motorsports promoter Billy Joe Miles.

On Friday, a meet and greet between the inductees, past and current monster truck owners, media and fans was held. Meanwhile, the family of Jeff Cook sold a wide variety of official IMTM merchandise exclusive to those attending. From large and small t-shirts to bumper stickers to mugs to pins, even rings, there was no shortage of items to choose from and all sales went to the museum. Several people set up display tables where merchandise of almost any kind conceivable was put on display for one and all to observe. One such case was second Hall of Fame class member Mike Welch who brought never before seen photos and merchandise from his thirty-plus years of travels and shows.

That evening, another classic monster truck was unveiled in the museum for the very first time, its restoration having been done under highly top secret conditions. To the thrill and amazement of the attendees, the tarp came off to reveal the original 1989 TNT Monster Truck Challenge Champion truck; incoming inductee David Morris’ red Equalizer.

On Saturday, an IMTM tradition continued with a Q&A and history discussion with the Hall of Fame inductees. Some stories were from the road and comical, others regarded monster truck industry related people who sadly had passed away at some point.

That night, a delicious meal was served as monster truck video footage exclusive to the IMTM was displayed for those in attendance and Army Armstrong entertained the diners. To get things started, numerous sponsors were thanked with a glass plaque featuring the sponsor’s name. As each new member of the International Monster Truck Hall of Fame was inducted, they received a standing ovation from the audience both on his way to the stage and accepting his induction plaque. At the end of the ceremony, another tradition went on as an auction was held to raise more money for the IMTM. With Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum creator and owner Dean Kruse as auctioneer and items abound to bid on, the bidding drama over each item was intense.

And that’s a wrap for us at “The Allen Report” for 2015, as we plan for the holidays and anxiously look forward to first quarter of 2016. Well, thanks for reading, a special thank-you goes to Jeff Cook and the IMTM and Hall of Fame board of directors as well as all of our friends at themonsterblog.com for a moving and entertaining event. Thank you to all of our followers for reading, please enjoy the photos, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris”, and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2015.

The Allen Report: Monster Trucks & FMX – Phoenix, AZ 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we go to the Arizona State Fairgrounds, a venue that has pretty much seen it all for the past one-hundred and thirty years, from the pre-war capital of motor racing in the city of Phoenix to a premier rodeo venue. And, of course, the Sanderson Ford Arena has seen no shortage of monster truck action, as it did over the fair closing weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Six gear grinding, ground pounding monster trucks arrived to do battle in six shows throughout the weekend. The shows consisted of wheelie contest and freestyle over Friday and Saturday before the High Jump and freestyle competitions on Sunday.

The shows featured Lake Havasu City, Arizona’s Mark Schroeder and his Felon truck. From just a few hours south of Phoenix was Rod Wood and his McGruff monster, ready to take a bite out of the competition. There also was Mexico’s Cesar Nunez driving the sleek 1963 split window Corvette Rat Attack. There also was the California based father and son team of Rick and Eric Swanson. Rick, as usual, piloted his bright yellow trophy truck Obsession and twenty year old Eric took the helm of his blue pickup truck bodied Obsessed. Rounding out the field was Tucson’s Sam Sturges in his 1942 Dodge Panel Wagon Unnamed & Untamed.

The heads-up competition only got hotter as the weekend went on. In wheelie contest on Friday evening, all trucks gave great efforts, each driver pushing his truck to the limit to get the best wheelie possible. Things quickly boiled down to a showdown between McGruff and Rat Attack, both going vertical with regularity, often to good response from the huge crowd. In freestyle, the two wheelie bumps, a set of crush cars and a huge center ramp were all fair game to win over the audience. Both Rat Attack and McGruff got huge air over the center ramp while Felon worked his signature wheelies and did some cyclones that truly were dirt slinging to end the opening show on Friday.

On Saturday, the veteran Sam Sturges and Unnamed & Untamed got off to a fast start in the wheelie contest, going straight up and down to push way ahead of father and son Swanson. But in doing so, Unnamed broke an axle. The California team caught up quickly in freestyle, however, as both Rick and Eric smashed the crush cars and soared over the arena floor thanks to the big ramp in the middle, plus some great cross thread moves, all attempting to win over the fans. Because of Sam Sturges’ breakage, Cesar Nunez in Rat Attack stepped up to take his place. Not resting on his laurels from the first two shows, the corvette monster had an excellent power wheelie while the Obsession trucks struggled to do the same. But when it came to freestyle, Rick and Eric did not back down, getting increasingly big air into the night sky and crushing the cars multiple times to thunderous applause from the capacity crowd.

In the third show of the weekend midway through Saturday, McGruff was in a class all his own, breaking away from the competition. He did so with a great forty-five degree angle wheelie and changing things up with a terrific sky wheelie off the crush cars. And the fans ate it up. In freestyle, the end of Felon’s weekend came a little premature when the motor broke and the damage was not repairable. This left a shootout between Rat Attack and McGruff. But ignition problems plagued Rat Attack from the very start, giving the best run to the Tucson native behind the wheel of McGruff.

On the final day of the fair, show organizers changed things up for the crowd by having McGruff take the place of Obsessed. This led to a battle in wheelie contest for the ages. Both the Tucson representatives in McGruff and Unnamed & Untamed stood straight up and down with no clear winner between the two.

In the final show of the weekend, the High Jump competition had the crowd cheering on and the drivers continued to push their machines. Each monster got two jumps each to outperform the others. No official winner was announced to the enormous number of spectators in the stands, but Obsessed and Rat Attack clearly went the highest of all. In the fair closing freestyle, both Rat Attack and Unnamed & Untamed went for broke with superb slap wheelies, but McGruff put together an exciting run that had the fans cheering practically from start to finish by smashing the crush cars, and great sky wheelies to wrap things up for the monsters at the fair for 2015.

In other action, four daredevil freestyle motocross riders including a member of the famous Metal Mulisha wowed both the young and young at heart alike with spectacular tricks high above the arena floor. Well, we at “The Allen Report” are almost ready to catch a plane to Auburn, Indiana, home of the fifth Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion, where four legendary monster truck personalities will become enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to Zack McKinley and Grand Canyon State Promotions for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2015.

The Allen Report: Monster Truck Fall Nationals – Turlock, CA 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we venture to Turlock, California, not far from Sacramento, which for fifty-one weeks a year is a farming community where life generally consists of dodging flies, delivering fruit and staying safe on the highways. But on this weekend, six of the best car crushing, dirt pounding monster trucks in the west came to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds for the annual Coors Light Monster Truck Fall Nationals. The end of an era had arrived as this was the last show promoted by John Borba, the founder of WGAS Motorsports, as his daughter Chelsea plans to take over the business in 2016 and beyond.

Coming to do battle were former World Champions Jim Creten and Bounty Hunter, with wife Dawn in Scarlet Bandit right behind. Kelvin Ramer brought his 1934 Ford Coupe Time Flys to the fairgrounds. New Georgia Tech student Rosalee Ramer flew in to drive her usual truck Wild Flower. Finally, the “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo brought his signature Play N’ 4 Keeps along as did Roger Stidell in his usual Destroyer from Washington state.

New to the show this year was a team competition. The monsters were split into three teams of two. Just one score would be given for both members of the team and the team with the highest score would be the champions for the year.

To get the crowd warmed up for the night’s action, each monster truck gave a run teasing the crows for things to come. In the last of the preview runs, Jim Creten got a wheelie off the jammer stack that was a bit too steep as it resulted in a backwards rollover. Jim Creten was just fine, to much applause from the crowd.

When the team freestyle began, the on track action only got increasingly heated as the night went on. Destroyer got good air and Play N’ 4 Keeps performed some audience-pumping wheelies to get a reasonable score of 18 out of a possible 30. Time Flys began the efforts of the second team. Driver Kelvin Ramer was going fast and was able fire the machine back up after being strangely shut down and did some dizzying cyclones with his steering wheel out the window to put his team in the hunt for the win. Dawn in Scarlet Bandit did not let off until her run was over, getting big air and carrying high speed in the process. She had clearly shown she was for real in this quest for the championship. Her husband Jim Creten drove like a man possessed in his official freestyle run, shooting for the moon on the hill, getting his revenge on the jammer stack and was nailing some blistering cyclones when the undercarriage of Bounty Hunter caught fire with the truck still spinning. Quick action by the WGAS officials extinguished the fire and Jim emerged unharmed. The judges rewarded the husband and wife team with a score 27.

The last truck in the order, Wild Flower, got big air over the jammer stack and popped a vertical wheelie before going off course and onto her lid. Even the early end to her run couldn’t diminish the smile on the eighteen year old’s face. As Rosalee went through her customary flower giveaway to a lucky fan in the stands, the judges’ scorecards showed her team just one single point short at 26, giving Jim and Dawn Creten the Championship.

In other motorsport action, Shane Plato and Hunter Souza put together some solid performances in the Skull Krusher and Beast Mode mini monsters. The sold out crowd was also treated to one at a time, car against clock tuff truck racing, itself a heated affair down on the track. In addition, Jake Blackwell gave rides to all who wanted in his Extinguisher ride truck, a vehicle dedicated to the emergency responders who lost their lives on 9/11.

After a brief excursion to Yuma Arizona to see the driving debut of friend and new Sturges Motorsports driver Preston Perez, we at “The Allen Report” are working towards the Arizona State Fair now, where six southwest monster trucks fight it out in freestyle and high jump contest to end the fair on the second weekend of November. Well, thank you for reading, a sincere thank you to John Borba and all the WGAS crew for another great experience, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2015.

The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Perris, CA 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our way to Perris, CA, a quiet town which, for fifty-one weeks a year is a quiet, relaxing SoCal town. But on this weekend, WGAS Motorsports brought eight of the best monster trucks in the region to Perris Auto Speedway to open the Southern California fair. Former World Champion Jim Creten and Bounty Hunter lead the charge with wife and teammate Dawn Creten right behind in her typical Scarlet Bandit. Defending the home state turf was Kelvin Ramer in his 1934 Ford Coupe Time Flys. Wild Flower was in the house as well, but with Rosalee Ramer busy attending Georgia Tech, the driver’s seat was occupied by Kelvin’s friend Jeff Souza. Tony Canedo brought his fan favorite Play N’ 4 Keeps to the Speedway, with Roger Stidell in Destroyer right behind. Tony pulled double duty this weekend, also driving Survivor while friend John Northcutt took to the cockpit of Tony’s third truck, Enforcer. When a capacity crowd piled in for the freestyle action, taking place on the front straight-a-way of the Perris Auto Speedway, all signs pointed to a real battle for the championship.

In the afternoon competition, Survivor and Enforcer got the crowd pumped up with nice runs featuring good air and honorable attempts at slap wheelies. Jeff Souza and Wild Flower got big air over the painted tire obstacle and carried high speed throughout the run to take the lead. Dawn Creten, not to be outdone, soared through the bright blue sky and followed it up with some dusty cyclones at either end of the front straight to put herself in the hunt for the win. Kelvin Ramer immediately announced his presence and did several nice slap wheelies and great combos to take the lead with only one truck to go. But Bounty Hunter proved unstoppable, shooting for the moon, doing lightning fast donuts and appearing to never lift off the throttle had the crowd roaring, clearly acknowledging the Tonganoxie, Kansas, native as the champion for the afternoon show.

Just a few hours passed before it was show time all over again. Destroyer had a good run going before sparks started showering from his front brake rotor, prompting officials to shut him down. It wasn’t an easy finale for Survivor, too. Midway through his run, the driver tried to pull a slap wheelie when the steering line broke and he too had to be pulled off the track. Jeff Souza seriously stepped up from the first show with huge air and dizzying cyclones to have the crowd on his side, at least for the moment. Dawn Creten had a high speed run with great air to again tie for the lead for the time being. Then, Time Flys got some great air and complimented it with an incredible save to get the crowd fired up. But just like the afternoon, Jim Creten was a man on a mission with incredible slap wheelies, huge air and super fast cyclones until the left rear ring gear snapped. Not wanting to make things worse, Jim Creten called it quits, but not before he had put together a fantastic freestyle run that had the crowd cheering on and on, obviously cementing himself as the double winner.

In other motorsport action, the sellout crowd was treated to mini dwarf car and junior outlaw sprint racing, where hairpin turns and close walls on either side had the racing very competitive. Also, Jake Blackwell gave rides in his Extinguisher ride truck deep into the night. So, we at “The Allen Report” are now headed to one of the last shows of the year for WGAS Motorsports, the Monster Truck Fall Nationals at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, CA. We look forward to giving you more coverage from there. In the meantime, thank you for reading, a sincere thank-you to John Borba all the WGAS Motorsports crew for hosting us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Globe, AZ 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a short trip over to Globe, Arizona, a small town where mining, copper and quaint little shops are a natural part of life. But on this night at the Gila County Fairgrounds, four gear grinding, dirt slinging monster trucks made their debut at the county fair to a packed and enthusiastic house. From just down the road in Marana, Arizona was Rod Wood driving McGruff, ready to take a bite out of the competition. From the polar opposite side of the state in Parker, Arizona were Mark Schroeder and his truck convicted of mass devastation, the Felon. Finally, New Mexico’s Jack Koberna brought two of his trucks to the show. Jack himself drove the Rislone sponsored Tuff-E-Nuff while friend “T-Bone” took the reins of the world’s only two wheel drive monster truck, Cyborg. A standing room only crowd took to the grandstand to watch wheelie contest, Chicago style racing and car munching, high flying freestyle.

By hitting the cars the wrong way, wheelie contest was sure to be interesting. Cyborg was first out and gave very good efforts. Felon set the bar for both trucks to come with a pair of very good forty-five degree angle wheelies. McGruff, police LED lights flashing brightly, gave excellent attempts hoping to win over the fans. The monster truck legend from New Mexico Jack Koberna only continued the game of top this with a good sky wheelie then followed it up with an amazing slap wheelie that put the crowd on its feet. No official winner was crowned, but the fans cheered on for all competitors.

On to side by side racing, where only two jumps as opposed to the regular three were needed to achieve victory. In the first heat Felon defeated Cyborg in a clean cut, straight up manner to advance to the finals. The second heat was one to remember. Going through the one and only turn, Tuff-E-Nuff went wide and smacked the freestyle van stack with one tire. Not wanting to lose, Jack stood on the throttle to barely beat opponent McGruff. However, his rear tires had not centered up from the turn. This sent the Chevy trophy truck into a nasty sideways rollover and it continued rolling until it was back on its wheels, causing the crowd to erupt. Despite the good show, McGruff was kept on the floor and officials sent Felon out to get the finals in the books. The final race was too close to call and with no official line judges or designated finish line, the fate of the race was put in the hands of the fans, whose loud applause was in McGruff’s favor.

With that, we were on to the main event of freestyle where Rod Wood put together an unbelievable run by smashing both the motor home at one end of the floor and the van on the other, big jumps over the cars and dusty cyclones to ongoing cheers from the crowd. Cyborg had a good hit over the van and decent sky wheelies going when driveline issues forced the monster’s pilot to end his run early. Mark Schroeder and Felon only raised the bar higher still with wheelies, donuts, and even a couple jumps using the floor boundary construction barrier as the ramp. Finally, Tuff-E-Nuff fought a broken sway bar by doing some excellent cross thread moves over the cars and van, destroying what was left of the motor home and culminating in donuts that went on and on until you couldn’t see the monster. Despite the lack of freestyle winner, the beyond capacity crowd, well used to demolition derbies were extremely approving of the first monster truck outing at the fair.

In between monster action was one at a time, vehicle versus clock mud bog racing. After a slow start, many of the vehicles made it to the other end of the pit, often with increasingly faster times. As dirty as it was, the fans loved it. As for us at “The Allen Report”, you will next hear from us at some of the biggest shows our friends at WGAS Motorsports put together all year, the Southern California Fair in Perris. Till then, thank you for reading, a special thank-you to the Gila County Fairgrounds for hosting us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Maverik Clash of the Titans – West Valley City, UT 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to West Valley City, Utah, just a stone’s throw from Salt Lake City, for the sixth year in a row. It’s a city known for snowy mountains and home of hockey’s Utah Grizzlies and basketball’s Utah Jazz. But on this day, ten huge names in monster trucks were going full bore outdoors in the nineteenth annual Maverik Clash of the Titans at the motor race facility Rocky Mountain Raceways. Jimmy Creten was back again, ready to defend the clean sweep he got a year ago in his sleek Bounty Hunter Black n’ Yellow. Wife Dawn Creten was ready to give it all in her usual Scarlet Bandit. Trent Montgomery was in the house in Knucklehead, the official monster vehicle of metal band Five Finger Death Punch. Newcomer Brian Maes rounded out Team 2Xtreme Racing in Iron Outlaw. Larry Swim was looking to take the title back to St. Louis as the pilot of Firestone Bigfoot #18, with rookie Josh Gibson right behind in the classic bodied Retro Bigfoot #14. It was sophomore season at RMR for Doug Charles and his radical looking Wild Thang, complete with an emotional tribute to original owner, Tony Farrell on the side. Travis Groth was gearing up for the show in his bright orange Trouble Maker while twin brother Tyler was doing the same in his green Double Trouble. Finally, hometown driver Ron Duncombe was ready to give the fans a show in his Maverik Monster Trakker.

RMR is the only monster truck venue where figure-8 racing is the course on hand and it proved difficult for Tyler Groth, Josh Gibson and Jimmy Creten, all penalizing themselves for knocking down cones at some point in their qualifying runs. Larry Swim and Firestone Bigfoot didn’t have that problem though, taking the number one qualifying spot and handily dispensing Wild Thang in the first race of the night. The second heat in the first round saw the Groth twins race each other. Trouble Maker had the lead for the first three of the four corners, but a complete one-eighty coming out of the last one gave the win to his brother and Double Trouble. Josh Gibson had been fastest loser in both the first two rounds, but his luck finally ran out in the first semi-final round against veteran teammate Larry Swim. Bounty Hunter’s chances of a second clean sweep in back to back years came to a grinding halt in the other semi-final when teammate and protégé Trent Montgomery upset the former World Champion to meet Firestone Bigfoot in the 2 lap super final. Trent held nothing back, but Larry was unstoppable, taking the racing victory on Saturday night.

The first night of competition was closed with a customary wheelie contest. Wild Thang kicked things off with two great efforts that were rewarded with a score of 4.5 out of 10.0. Truck after truck came after him only to fall short until Retro Bigfoot came in and rode a wheelie perfectly vertical the length of half the main straightaway to garner an excellent score of 8.5. But the very next truck was a master of wheelies. Jim Creten rode out two straight up and down wheelstands that went on and on to get the crowd on its feet. The judges were impressed too, as Bounty Hunter was the new leader with a score of 9.7. Despite the best efforts of Knucklehead and Firestone Bigfoot, Jimmy Creten walked away with yet another wheelie contest victory.

Sunday was even more competitive, with the top three qualifiers separated by less than a second. In the second race of the night, Maverik Monster Trakker just barely squeaked past Iron Outlaw in a photo finish. In a rematch from the night before, Dawn Creten raced her husband in the middle quarter final. Also like Saturday night, Dawn was coming on strong but she ran out of racetrack, giving Bounty Hunter the win. Scarlet Bandit would still advance to the semis, however, as the fastest loser. The second semi-final was practically a final in itself. In one lane was the former World Champion Bounty Hunter. In the other was perennial favorite Larry Swim and Firestone Bigfoot. Jimmy Creten pushed as hard as he could, but just fell short to the member of the original monster truck team by less than a truck length. Larry and Bigfoot advanced to the super final, where Trent Montgomery and Knucklehead were there waiting. Unfortunately, on the first jump of the first lap, the rising star for 2Xtreme Racing suffered a broken right front planetary, leaving the track and surrendering the win and racing clean sweep to Firestone Bigfoot. It was later announced to the fans that this was the first time in the history of the event that a breakdown after the first of the super finals’ five jumps had ever happened.

Freestyle got off to a strong start when Travis Groth and Trouble Maker had good speed, nice sky wheelies and good donuts just before time ran out for a score of 31.25 out of 40.0. Double Trouble raised the bar even higher with wheelies, donuts, and hitting the car pyramid at the back straightaway of the oval to receive a 34.0. Jim Creten was only a few trucks later, and was on a roll with long wheelies, huge air, and smoke blowing donuts when his RPM’s went too high and his transmission let go with time still on the clock. Still, his score was good enough to take the lead at 34.75, less than a one point ahead of Double Trouble. But the very next run was by Trent Montgomery. A tough loss in the final round had the Knucklehead driver on a mission. The young gun showed he’s learning from the best in the business, with high speed, continuously hitting every obstacle and riding the limit without going over it to finish his time. The crowd roared when his score of 37.25 came over the loudspeaker, taking the lead with only one truck left to go. Larry Swim gave an honorable effort, but it wasn’t good enough to overtake the three year newcomer. Trent Montgomery got his first career win at Rocky Mountain Raceways in freestyle, bringing the win back to Tonganoxie, Kansas.

Next for us at “The Allen Report”, we will be coming to you from the WGAS productions at the Southern California Fair in Perris, CA. Look for more monster truck action in October. On that note, thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to the Rocky Mountain Raceway staff for their superb hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Pomona, CA 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “the Allen Report”, we once more venture to the Fairplex in Pomona, California, a town rich in motorsport history as the birthplace of the modern day drag racing funny car and a host city of one of the first ever stadium off road event produced by the legendary Mickey Thompson. But on Fourth of July, it was all about gear grinding monster trucks. Jim and Dawn Creten made the trip up from Del Mar with Bounty Hunter and Scarlet Bandit ready to thrill the fans, as did Tony Canedo, only this time pulling double duty in Play N’ 4 Keeps and Enforcer. And nineteen year old rising star Eric Swanson was in town ready to perform in his sharp looking off road bodied Obsessed monster. When a huge crowd piled in, all things appeared to point to an action packed night, and all the performers delivered.

To start the action, a new Pomona tradition was born when “the Rocketman” Choche Valencia had fans marveling at his one-hundred and fifty-five foot leap out of a cannon into the safety of a big net. Next were the daredevil freestyle motocross riders, notably the leader of the “Fitz Army”, Metal Mulisha’s own Jimmy Fitzpatrick. The fans cheered on and on as the riders went bigger and bigger with the tricks, ultimately culminating in backflip variations.

The monsters got off to roaring starts too, with roundy-round racing setting the bar for what was to come. Dawn Creten and Eric Swanson faced off for the right to face Bounty Hunter in the super final. A slow start and hitting one the turning tires slowed down Eric, giving Dawn a rematch against her husband from Del Mar. Jim Creten rarely makes the same mistake and he did not here, crossing the finish line just ahead of Scarlet Bandit. Freestyle began with Eric Swanson getting great air off the bread truck and doing some excellent donuts. Tony Canedo and Play N’ 4 Keeps gave great wheelie efforts and were rewarded with the crowd’s cheers. But Jim Creten showcased why he won the Freestyle World Title in 2005, with huge speed, smashing through a motor home and completely vertical wheelstands. To finish off the monster action, the others joined Bounty Hunter on the stadium floor and drove up and over the huge center mound, leading to all the monsters doing side by side donuts to ignite the initial fireworks as a prelude to what was just a few moments away. A spectacular fireworks show, with hearts and happy faces to almost any color conceivable had the crowd gasping and cheering deep into the night.

Well then, we at “The Allen Report” are going to take a little time off, but when we return, you will have access to monster truck figure-8 racing, courtesy of our friends at Rocky Mountain Raceways. Til that day, thank you for reading, a special thank-you to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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