Wow Moments Blog

TMB's Kaedon Berry brings you all the latest big news and big moves in the world of monster trucks.

Wow Moments: Monster Nation Title Still Up For Grabs

The Monster Nation tour has been nothing short of spectacular in 2011. Some of the top, independent names in monster trucks including  Equalizer, Tail Gator, and Barbarian have put on impressive performances thus far in Southaven (Rounds 1-2) and Bossier City (Rounds 3-4). That great level of competition has left the points chase up for grabs going into the final weekend in Beaumont, Texas. After the first 4 shows on tour, Devin Jones and Barbarian hold the #1 position going into rounds 5,6, and 7, but Union, Missouri’s “Big” Doug Noelke in Tailgator and rising star J.R. McNeal piloting Razin’ Kane are hot on his heels. With the absence of Barbarian in Beaumont this coming weekend, the door is wide open to steal the title away from Jones.

“There are still a lot of points to be had,” said Monster Nation’s Ryan Seddon. “With three shows left, It comes down to who boasts the best, overall performance. Our point’s system breaks down as follows: a racing or freestyle winner is awarded 5 points while a second place finish in racing earns 3 points. A donut or wheelie contest winner is awarded 3 points. We encourage racing at Monster Nation. The guys will go out and freestyle on their own, but we really like to see them get after it in the racing portion.”, said Seddon. Below is the Monster Nation Point Standings going into the final weekend in Beaumont.

The Chase for the 2011 Monster Nation Title

As you can see, the quest for the 2011 championship is anyone’s game. Barbarian’s 18 points will be in danger as Noelke in Tailgator and McNeal in Razin’ Kane are in the best position to steal the title with 13 and 11 points, respectively. With so many points still left, one cannot rule out Mike Hawkins in Equalizer and Isaiah Morales in Hot Tamale, who both sit tied for 4th with 8 points each. Can Doug Noelke earn another title for the team? Can rookie J.R. McNeal earn his first title among the titans of the monster truck industry? Will it be Isaiah Morales in Hot Tamale making a repeat from 2010 and claiming his second Monster Nation title in a row? We at TMB will be anxious to find out how the weekend shakes down and wish Monster Nation and the competing teams the best of luck.

For those in the Beaumont area, this event will not be one to miss! Beaumont’s Ford Park will host the final 3 shows beginning Friday, February 18 at 8:00 p.m., again on Saturday, February 19 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, February 20 at 3:0o p.m. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday Nights and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. For ticketing information, visit the Ford Arena Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, or charge by phone at (800)-745-3000. For more information regarding Monster Nation or further event information, visit their website at

Wow Moments: R.O.R. – Monster Trucks’ Most Realistic Game is Free?

The world of monster truck gaming has evolved once again with the fruition of Rigs of Rods. For those not familiar with monster truck’s newest and most realistic game, Rigs of Rods, or R.O.R., is an open source vehicle simulator based on soft-body physics. In layman’s terms, Rigs of Rods consists of realistic trucks and tracks with physics that are unmatched in previous monster truck games, including those in the Monster Jam series and Monster Truck Madness 2.

Rigs Of Rods: Monster Truck Gaming Taken To A Whole New Level!

With a reasonable gaming computer and a little patience for downloading, the realm of Rigs of Rods will have you riding slap wheelies, landing monster sky wheelies, and spinning cyclone donuts in no time! R.O.R. features replica tracks including the Indianapolis 4 Wheel Jamboree, Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, and even a rendition of the World Finals held at Sam Boyd Stadium. In addition, Rigs of Rods allows its users to pilot over 80 of the top monster trucks in the world today. The count of new trucks grows consistently as the masterminds behind the success of Monster Truck Madness 2 have taken on the task of creating new and improved trucks to be used in game play.

Did I mention it was free? Rigs of Rods can be downloaded at The site offers newcomers a “Beginner’s Guide” that contains tips, tricks, and troubleshooting that is invaluable to setting up and playing the game. When the game is installed and you’re ready to download various truck and track packs, visit and their download sections. There you will find the trucks and tracks mentioned above as well as leagues to allow you the opportunity to strut your stuff against other R.O.R. enthusiasts. Remember, when saving new trucks and tracks, make sure you enter the streams folder within the Rigs of Rods main folder first, then the “final” folder, and finally, place them in either the terrains or vehicles folder. Last but not least, on the Rigs of Rods configurator, remember to “clear cache” and “regen cache”, which are both located under the “Advanced” tab, to ensure your new trucks and tracks will be installed for gameplay.

The monster truck gaming world has been revolutionized by Rigs of Rods. I encourage you to install the game and play it. We here at TMB love to dabble in R.O.R. when time permits and want to hear what you think about the game. What could be done differently to better the game? What do you like the least? Most? Speak your mind…

Photos Courtesy of and Video Courtesy of

Wow Moments: Razin Kane Ready for 2011 Season

This edition of the Wow Moments Blog checks in with Team Razin Kane’s owner/driver JR McNeal. Over the course of just one year in competition, the team took home numerous wins against some of the stars and top names in the monster truck world today. The team has since undergone a lot of changes in the offseason and they feel they are beyond ready to tackle the competition in 2011. We talked to JR about those changes and about his thoughts on beginning his rookie season behind the wheel.

Razin Kane has been revamped and overhauled and is ready to take on the competition in 2011.

TMB: This coming Friday will mark the first time you pilot the truck in full-on competition. Talk about some of the things going through your mind as you mentally prepare for the Southaven Monster Nation show.

JR: There’s a lot of things going through my mind. The driving part I’m not too worried about. It’s more the stupid stuff like something going wrong with the truck, like it won’t start or the rear steering malfunctioning.  I just want to perform and have fun. The one thing on my side is I know the teams competing at our first show and I know the track layout. There’s definitely a comfort level established with these things already in place. I have some shoes to fill from last year but I don’t see that being a problem.

TMB: Your schedule takes you to a lot of familiar places that saw Razin Kane with Chris Lagana driving last year and they know what the truck is capable of. Which shows will you be driving in and which will new teammate Ronnie Cochran be handling the driving duties?

JR: Well first of all Ronnie is a hell of a guy and brings a hell of a lot of experience to the team.  We are actually talking about what shows that he will be driving for us during the weekend of our first show.  Ronnie will be driving full time eventually when the second truck is done, which will be in March. Until then, Ronnie and I will be switching back and forth because of my business at home.

Just one of the many upgrades for 2011, Razin Kane's new nitrogen shocks.

TMB: Razin Kane has become a force to be reckoned with in it’s first year of competition. Talk about what modifications you’ve made to truck and to the team in the offseason to further the team’s success.

JR: We have made a lot of changes to the truck. We’ve changed the body out from the Dodge Dakota body you saw last season to a brand new 2011 Dodge Ram 3500 full size pick-up body. We also changed out the shocks from 18 inch coil shocks to nitrogen 26’s all the way around, which means all new shock mounts. We decided to move the steering back three inches, changed the zoomies to headers for exhaust, rewired the whole truck with the new painless wiring system designed specifically for monster trucks, a brand new motor, new seat, all new lexan up front with new gauges, back up lights to go with back up beeper, a new different style radiator, and even added a new sway bar up front and  two more batteries. We also modified our frame a little and re-enforced the running gear and rims. Last and not least,  we modified the paint job.

In addition to the changes to the truck itself, we lost a team member and gained three new members. Chris moved on, which was for the best and we wish him well. We are excited at the shop with new attitudes and different ideas. I’m really excited because of the things that will get done while I’m on the road at the shop. The next truck has been started and we will have video up soon from beginning to end so stay tuned to our website at

Razin Kane is sporting a brand new Dodge Ram 3500 body for 2011.

TMB: It is amazing how much work goes into getting these trucks race ready. Even beyond that though, countless hours are devoted by teams just in traveling from show to show and routine maintenance in between shows to ensure the truck is at 100% each weekend. Who are some of the folks that help the team stay running?

JR: You’re exactly right. We do it because we love it and anyone else who isn’t affiliated with monster trucks wouldn’t understand this love/hate relationship we all deal with in this sport. I can’t thank all the people who help us enough – first and four most the Man above, my wife , my kids, my business partners, Marc White, Roy Pridgeon, Thomas Tripp, James Walker, and all my employees for all the continued support. It really makes me feel good. My sponsors that I would like to thank are myself and myself lol. Just kidding, really, thanks to Central Florida Speed and Machine, FTI Competition Transmissions and Convertors, Braille Batteries, FK Rod End, BMF Shocks, and McNeal and White Contractors. To the Promoters – man, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Ed and Zane over at Checkered Flag Productions. I would not have this opportunity if it weren’t for these guys. Monster Nation with Brian and Kelly, and John over at MAP Motorsports have also given our team a shot and for that we’re extremely grateful. I can’t thank these promoters enough for giving Razin Kane the chance and we won’t let you down. This is going to be a good year for us.

A big thanks to JR for taking time out of the team’s busy preparation schedule to talk with us. Check out last week’s Video of the Week to see JR’s last test run in Razin Kane before heading out to compete in his first event this weekend in Southaven. Stay tuned to to follow JR and the guys with Razin Kane as they tackle the competition in 2011. For more information and the teams 2011 appearance schedule, visit their website at

Wow Moments: The Silverdome Lives

The 2010 season marked the return for one of the most prestigious venues in the history of monster trucks: The Pontiac Silverdome. TMB was fortunate enough to be part of both the inaugural event (Domination in the Dome) and this November’s “Monster Truck Fall Shootout”. Between the two shows, names including Bigfoot, Excaliber, and Virginia Giant made their return to the hallowed building to once again do battle.  Other story lines, including the return of Eric Tack to pilot Bigfoot 11 for the show and the rebirth of the “Michigan Ice Monster” added nostalgic flavor and got my wheels turning as to how the legacy of the Silverdome could be further amplified.

The Pontiac Silverdome 11/13/10

Would a promoter in today’s monster truck world be able to successfully market an old-school style monster truck show in the Silverdome, including a full on truck and tractor pull and mud bog, alongside a full on “Battle of the Monster Trucks” between some of the old school trucks that are being plucked from fence rows and revived today? Would the average fan in Detroit who is used to the fast paced and high flying nature of today’s monsters be interested in paying to attend a show that showcases the roots of monster trucks?  After seeing the immense success of Jeff Cook’s 4×4 Off Road Truck Show Challenge in Auburn, Indiana this past October, I think the answer is yes. What do you think? If you were given the opportunity to promote a show in the legendary Pontiac Silverdome, what style event would you promote and why?

Wow Moments: Wildman Jeff Bringing Back Old School Fever

“In kindergarten, I used to draw pictures of trucks with big tires before monsters existed. My dad and school teachers laughed and said I was creative but didn’t take me serious.”

The mind of Jeff Cook was afflicted with the idea of oversized trucks at an early age. It all began when Jeff’s young eyes became fixated on a Peterson’s 4 Wheel and Off-Road magazine cover of Bigfoot with 48 inch tires. The rest is history. TMB’s Kaedon Berry took time to interview the mastermind behind the War Wagon monster truck and, most recently, the old school inspired “Shotgun Harry” truck.

Kaedon: Thanks for taking the time to let us monster truck enthusiasts hear a few pages from your monster truck career, Jeff.

Jeff: It’s my pleasure; I started just like all of the hardcore monster truck fans today. I would learn of a new truck out in the monster truck scene and study it. Pretty soon I would be able to tell you any stat about the truck, driver, and so on. I remember doing a show at Myrtle Beach where King Kong rolled on top of police cars. I did that show for Deihl Wilson in 1999 and it was so awesome to stand on that straight away and see that big 76 sign and knowing the history of that situation of the roll over onto those brand new police cars. . I enjoy relating to the fans on that level.

Kaedon: The evolution from normal 4×4’s to monster trucks took the nation by storm. Illustrate for us how you got drawn in to the monster truck scene.

Jeff: From a very young age, I always wanted to put bigger tires on trucks. In kindergarten, I used to draw pictures of trucks with big tires before monsters existed. My dad and school teachers laughed and said I was creative but didn’t take me serious. Back in those days, 35 inch Ground Hogs were the biggest tires you could get and those were massive! I used to keep up with the increase in tire size through my subscription of Peterson’s 4 Wheel and Off-Road Magazine. When I got the issue with Bigfoot on 48 inch tires, I remember thinking how awesome it was and became fixated on it. I lived for that throughout all of my schooling and decided I wanted to build a monster truck.

We had a few guys in from my area that were involved with monster trucks, namely Scott Hess and Kirk Dabney. Scott’s truck “Hercules” started out as a show truck and progressed to a full-fledged 66 inch tire truck. Scott would crawl in that truck and just launch it 20 feet in the air and the landings used to scare me half to death! He was one of my heroes! Kirk ended up in our town and ended up renting a shop from my dad. From there I would hang around and keep my nose in things helping with anything I could. Dad and I started doing paint work for Kirk when he started buying more trucks. Eventually I got the chance to drive Kirk’s original Overkill truck named “Thunderstruck” in 1991. I did shows primarily with the Thunder Nationals series and Chris Arel in Canada through 1992.

At the end of 1992, Marty Garza called me and asked if I wanted to drive the new, Maximum Overkill truck that he and Jerry Richmond had put together. I was beyond excited to drive a new style truck with tons of horsepower and eagerly accepted. Throughout the first quarter of 1993, I campaigned that truck and was pretty successful. Then one day, there was an accidental fire in the shop housing the trucks, ultimately destroying all of them. It wasn’t something you wanted to remember at the time. In fact, I don’t even think I have any pictures of the rubble. We are all so depressed and shocked by the situation. Marty told me to stay optimistic and that they were going to build a truck for me to drive. As flattered as I was, I knew it would be tough on Marty to get a truck together for me and made the decision and told him to take care of Jerry Richmond and to get back on his feet.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after the situation, but Aaron Paulburn (formerly of the Thunder Nationals Tour) came to me and said, “Jeff, why don’t you build your own truck?” At that point in my career, I had been working on the monster I’d started in high school in my minimal spare time and thought I might want to finish it. Aaron laughed and told me I should instead build a race truck instead of an outdated, leaf sprung Scout monster truck. He finally talked me into it. We had spent time putting our heads together to come up with a unique concept. I was an avid hot rod fan, so we came up with the use of a 55 Chevy. He asked me what I was going to name it, and I had no clue. Aaron told me, “Name it war wagon, have it done by July, and meet me at my show in Mansfield, Ohio, and you’ll have a full schedule next year.” Throughout the spring and Summer I worked feverishly to complete that truck. By July 1993, War Wagon was competing at its first show.

Kaedon: The War Wagon truck was always a front runner on the Indoor Circuit and is still touring regularly today. Talk about your time with the War Wagon and what you accomplished.

Jeff: I toured with the first War Wagon chassis through the end of the 1996 season. I began construction of the new War Wagon tube frame truck in late 1996 and began touring with it in the winter of 1997. I wanted to build a truck that was conducive to the smaller confines of the arenas I was used to running in the Thunder Nationals series. Some guys criticized me for building a squared cradle saying that it was obsolete and that it was pointless to take that step “backwards”. I envisioned a truck that would be a wheelie machine and be pointed vertical and was confident that my idea was going to work. I have many fond memories of lining up to a stack of cars and standing the truck up into a vertical wheelie and finish by walking all the way across the arena. I continued to tour the Thunder Nationals Tour and transitioned to my good friend’s (The late and great George Eisenhart) series: Monster Nationals. In 1999, I started my fire truck business, 1st Attack Engineering, and it began to be where I was burning the candle at both ends. I would work during the week at the business then thrash to get the truck ready for a show on Friday and it became exhausting. As the business really took off, I decided that I would refocus my attention to work and spending time with my wife and kids at home in Auburn.

Kaedon: It’s been said that once a person has entered the realm of monster trucks that it’s in their blood forever. After your stint out of the industry, you built various 4×4 creations such as “Lil’ Squirt” and “Silly Willy”, but out of nowhere, you debuted the truck you’d been working on for years, Shotgun Harry. What possessed you to complete the first truck you ever started?

Jeff: George Eisenhart and I were very close friends. We’d talk with each other multiple times every day and be sounding posts for each other for our business ventures, both in and out of monster trucks. In 2008 and 2009, We had talked about me making a reentry into the sport of monster truck racing with a new race truck and so forth. When George’s accident happened, I, like many who knew George, were devastated and I had to soul search for the direction I wanted to go with my monster truck career. I loved being on the road and meeting new fans and seeing all my friends, but I also wanted to involve my family who was gracious enough to put up with me being on the road alone with the War Wagon all those years. I’d made up my mind that I was going to finish what I started in the truck I started in high school.

I went to my Grandmother’s and pulled the truck out her barn, down the road, and into my shop. My son and I worked on the truck consistently and I decided I wanted to get back to my old school roots within the truck’s design. I originally wanted to put a truck body on it and throw in a blown motor. I instead stuck with my original plan of making it a family play toy and installed four, 73 inch tires and a diesel engine. To continue on with this theme, I wanted to come up with something kid friendly. My son and I are avidly into Cowboy shooting scenes and we came up with a cowboy character named “Shotgun Harry”. The truck that got me into monster trucks in a fun way and not so much in a competitive way was finally finished. I didn’t realize how excited people would be until we debuted it in Lima at the 4 Wheel Jamboree . It’s fun to see just how into the old school side of monster trucks people still are and we’re working on some things in the future that will greatly appeal to all old school fans alike so stay tuned!

TMB would like to thank Jeff for his time and hospitality. The big news with Wildman Jeff doesn’t stop with just the Schotgun Harry truck as Jeff is currently working organizing an old school style event, which is tentatively scheduled for October 16th in Auburn, Indiana.  For more information regarding “Wildman” Jeff Cook, 1st Attack Engineering, and the Shotgun Harry Monster Truck, visit

Wow Moments: 3 Wide Racing Returns To Monster Trucks

“For the first time ever, monster trucks will race 3 at-a-time. Thats right, side-by-side-by-side racing and what a location TNT has selected for this brand new innovation in the sport: Beautiful Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.” – Scott Douglass

As a child, I remember watching this episode of “Tuff Trax” religously. It was to the point where I memorized the show and would relive these instances in my head and remember just how awesome the show was. In years past, I wondered if this style of racing would ever make its return to the sport. Who would attempt it and where it would take place? As of September 4, the rebirth happened.

The Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, Colorado played host to the return of 3 wide racing in the sport of monster trucks. Again, the wheels began to turn in my mind. Could this open the door for other promoters within the industry to consider the idea? What improvisations could promotors apply to 3 wide racing today? Would the form of racing go over well with new-age fans who crave the massive air and ragged edges of freestyle? Only time will tell. In the mean time, kudos to SMTS for bringing back this exciting style of racing. I’ll leave you with this question: What promotor do you feel would do three wide racing further justice?

Wow Moments: Bad Habit Vaults Into The Record Books

Joe Sylvester launched his Bad Habit machine into the Guiness Book of World Records Sunday in front of fans and peers at the Cornfield 500. The buzz in the monster truck industry was huge in the days leading up to the jump  as anticipation grew.  The road to the 208 foot jump, however, was far from easy as numerous, long days of setup for the ramp-to-ramp jump and a vicious rollover on Wednesday’s practice jump prevented any “smooth sailing” from happening.

As shown in the video above, minor miscalculations can lead to an intense turn of events in a matter of seconds as Bad Habit cartwheeled down the landing ramp despite Joe’s best efforts. The frustration was evident, but Team Bad Habit’s perserverance earned the coveted title of the Long Jump King in all of monster trucks. The former record was held by the legendary Bigfoot Team who launched Bigfoot #14 at a distance of 202 feet in 1999. A big congratulations goes out to Joe Sylvester for the succesful jump and forever earning himself one of the biggest “wow moments” in monster truck history.