Indy 4-Wheel Jamboree Championship Weekend Recap

(By Ross Z. Bonar) The weekend marked the 30th Anniversary of the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana and how better to celebrate than with an incredible battle for the 2011 Monster Truck Thunder Drags season championship. Hall Brothers Racing entered the weekend looking to extend their decade of domination in this series to an unheard of eleventh year in a row, but 2011 would be their biggest challenge yet as legendary BIGFOOT driver Dan Runte entered the weekend 80 points ahead of Mark Hall and Raminator.

In addition to the monster truck championship battle, Jamboree fans would be treated to the usual great lineup of entertainment, from show’n’shine trucks to mud bogs, tough trucks and everything in between. For the 30th Anniversary event, Family Events pulled out all the stops, bringing in 12 race trucks, the young star Kid KJ and the incredibly popular Megasaurus car-eating dinosaur. The monster truck lineup included:  E3 Spark Plugs Bigfoot #16, Raminator, Rammunition, Avenger, General Tire, Lucas Oil Stabilizer, Heavy Hitter, Star Marshal, Stomper, Black Knight, Airdog Diesel and Chalkboard Chuck.

A great 12 truck lineup was assembled to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana.

A slight damper was cast on the weekend’s festivities however as Family Events was forced to make some layout changes due to the ongoing investigation into the Indiana State Fair stage collapse. The main grandstand was still closed and unavailable, so Family Events transported in temporary bleachers to accommodate the great crowds on hand for the event.

The collapsed stage remains as the investigation continues into the cause of the terrible tragedy prior to the Sugarland concert at last month's Indiana State Fair.

Those layout changes fortunately did not stop Head Track Official Lee Collins from putting together a wild S-course racing layout that featured a unique rhythm section not often seen in monster truck racing. This would be sure to present an interesting challenge for the drivers and another exciting twist in the title bout.

With four shows scheduled for the weekend, three of those including side by side racing, the points picture could change in a heartbeat. See below for the standings entering the weeekned:

Point Standings – Entering the Weekend

1st – Bigfoot – 1480
2nd – Raminator – 1400
3rd – Rammunition – 1240
4th – General Tire – 1120
5th – Lucas Oil Stabilizer – 880
6th – Avenger – 880
7th – Star Marshal – 800
8th – Chalkboard Chuck – 640
9th – Crushstation – 600
10th – Samson – 440
11th – Black Knight – 240

Also presented here is the Family Events point scale:

How Points Are Awarded

1st – 200 points
2nd – 160 points
Semi-Finals – 120 points
1st Round – 80 points

Action kicked off Friday night with a freestyle-only warm-up to the weekend’s competition and all the trucks put on a great show for the fans in attendance.

The real action got started Saturday afternoon as the trucks took to the S-course for some intense side by side racing. The focus was on the championship contenders in round one as Mark Hall in Raminator made quick work of Bobby Holman in Lucas Oil Stabilizer while Dan Runte in Bigfoot dodged the powerful punch of the Heavy Hitter, taking out the impressive rookie Derick Anson in a close race. Mat Dishman looked strong in Rammunition as he took down Bryan Wright in Black Knight while Dave Radzierez cruised to victory in the Star Marshal when Chris Bergeron in General Tire was unable to make the call.

The semi-final round began with Raminator taking on Star Marshal for a trip to the finals and Mark Hall laid down a solid pass to defeat Razeriez. That win put the pressure on Runte as he had to race Mat Dishman in Rammunition. The two waged a great battle but Dishman used the big momentum off the outside lane coming to the line to edge out Runte and knock out Bigfoot. This would effectively close the point gap to 40 as Hall moved on to the finals.

In the all Hall Brothers Racing finale, Hall would have the chance to tie it all up by taking down his teammate. But in monster truck racing, there aren’t any team orders and Dishman would pull out all the stops to try and beat the boss. In another great battle, Dishman used the outside lane once again to carry incredible speed coming to the line, leaving Raminator in the dust and taking his third win of the 2011 General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags season. The race would be a missed opportunity for Hall as he exited the first race of the weekend still 40 points behind Runte.

A Hall Brothers Racing showdown in the finals of the Saturday afternoon race would see Mat Dishman in Rammunition in victory lane.

Here is a look at the racing bracket results and points after race #1:

Round One

Raminator def. Lucas Oil Stabilizer
Star Marshal def. General Tire (General Tire unable to make call)
Bigfoot def. Heavy Hitter
Rammunition def. Black Knight

Semi-Finals

Raminator def. Star Marshal
Rammunition def. Bigfoot

Final Round

Rammunition def. Raminator

Unofficial Point Standings – After Saturday Afternoon Race

1st – Bigfoot – 1600
2nd – Raminator – 1560
3rd – Rammunition – 1440
4th – General Tire – 1200
5th – Lucas Oil Stabilizer – 960
6th – Star Marshal – 920
7th – Avenger – 880
8th – Chalkboard Chuck – 640
9th – Crushstation – 600
10th – Samson – 440
11th – Black Knight – 320
12th – Heavy Hitter – 80

Kid KJ impressed all weekend as he continues to improve, pulling off some great moves in his mini monster truck, the Monster Bear.

After a great freestyle display from all the trucks to close out the afternoon event, the teams would go to work on the trucks with one race under their belts and a better idea of the adjustments needed to improve on the setups for the evening race. The focus in round one would continue to be on Bigfoot and Raminator with the gap close to just 40 points.

Rich Hilgendorf leads the way in freestyle Saturday afternoon with a great performance from the Avenger.

Round one racing would see Dan Runte in Bigfoot make quick work of Joe Nichter in Stomper while Mark Hall in Raminator would receive a bye run when Rich Hilgendorf in Avenger was unable to make the call due to rear steering issues. Derick Anson in Heavy Hitter made Mat Dishman sweat in their match-up as he was pulling away when the truck swung wide in the final turn, making contact with and knocking over the giant O’Reilly’s inflatable to the delight of the crowd. Dishman would go on to win. “Hillbilly” would be back behind the wheel of the Black Knight and was very solid in his win over Bobby Holman in Chalkboard Chuck.

The semi-finals would see what might have been one of the most important races of the weekend as the two championship contenders went head to head. If Runte could win it, he would move back to 80 points ahead of Hall, while if Raminator won, the points race would be all tied up. Both trucks charged off the line, but Runte made great time through the rhythm section, entering the final turn very close on the inside. With a perfect turn, Runte was able to put the power down and leave Raminator behind, taking a huge win to move on to the finals. In the other semi-final match-up, “Hillbilly” in Black Knight made Mat Dishman work for it but lost it in the final turn as Rammunition powered by for the victory.

With an 80 point lead going into the final round, Runte could effectively wrap up the championship with a win in the finals. If he could carry a 120 point lead into the final race, he would need only to start and even if Hall won the Sunday event, the points would result in a tie for the championship. The tiebreaker would be # of race wins on the season and that would go to Runte and Bigfoot with 5 wins.

Not being exactly aware of the math, Dan Runte did know that a win in the finals would be huge and had Bigfoot on kill, ready to try and take down Mat Dishman and Rammunition. Dishman had looked great all weekend in the outside lane coming to the finish and that is the lane he had for the finals. The trucks stayed near even to the final turn where Runte whipped Bigfoot around in a perfect turn allowing him to get the power down as Dishman came charging hard on the outside. At the line, it was Runte taking the win by about a truck length but Rammunition came flying by in the air leaving the trucks side by side as they landed.

Dan Runte in Bigfoot takes a decisive final round victory Saturday night in Indy, while Mat Dishman charges hard toward the shutdown area.

Both trucks took hard landings but Bigfoot landed sideways, breaking a sway bar and sending the truck towards Rammunition. Runte gave a great effort to gather up Bigfoot but it would be to no avail as the trucks made contact, sending both out of control. There was no saving Bigfoot as Runte went for a hard rollover onto the cab and then back onto the wheels. Dishman continued on trying to save the truck but finally the tires caught in the dirt sending Rammunition over hard onto the cage.

Bigfoot and Rammunition make contact in the shutdown area which would send both trucks out of control and over onto their lid.

Track officials and crew members and drivers ran to the trucks as thankfully both drivers emerged slightly shaken up but otherwise unscathed from the hard crash. Officials made a quick review to ensure the call was correct, and yes it was Bigfoot by a truck length at the finish line taking the win and all but wrapping up the championship.

After a lengthy cleanup on the track and darkness consuming the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the decision was made by track officials to cancel freestyle in the interest of safety. With the layout changes due to the closing of the main grandstand, the big lights atop the grandstand were unavailable leaving much of the track in near complete darkness.

Here are the full results and resulting point standings after race #2:

Round One

Bigfoot def. Stomper
Raminator def. Avenger (Avenger unable to make call)
Rammunition def. Heavy Hitter
Black Knight def. Chalkboard Chuck

Semi-Finals

Bigfoot def. Raminator
Rammunition def. Black Knight

Final Round

Bigfoot def. Rammunition

Unofficial Point Standings – After Saturday Night Race

1st – Bigfoot – 1800
2nd – Raminator – 1680
3rd – Rammunition – 1600
4th – General Tire – 1200
5th – Lucas Oil Stabilizer – 960
6th – Avenger – 960
7th – Star Marshal – 920
8th – Chalkboard Chuck – 720
9th – Crushstation – 600
Tie – 10th – Samson – 440
Tie – 10th – Black Knight – 440
13th – Heavy Hitter – 160
14th – Stomper – 80

To clinch the championship title, Runte and the Bigfoot team would at least have to make an appearance in round one in the final race on Sunday. As the team checked over the truck, they found several spots in the chassis that would need welding and immediately sent out calls to team drivers Larry Swim and Darron Schnell to be on standby to bring Bigfoot #14 and Bigfoot #11 from their display events to Indianapolis for Runte to compete in on Sunday. After further review of the damage, the team decided to make the repairs to #16 and working through the night and into the morning, the truck was ready to race on Sunday.

The very first race would see the championship decided without question or need for a tiebreaker as Dan Runte and Bigfoot cruised to an easy victory over Joe Nichter in Stomper. With the teams not 100% of the points math in the pits, all Mark Hall knew was that he needed to win and hope for the best, and he began that quest by marching to victory over Rich Hilgendorf in Avenger. Derick Anson in Heavy Hitter continued to impress as he defeated Mat Dishman in Rammunition, while Bobby Holman scored his first round win of the weekend, driving Chalkboard Chuck to the victory over Black Knight.

Even though the championship math had already been decided, this was still not certain in the pits setting up a huge match-up between Bigfoot and Raminator in the semi-finals. In what was probably the closest race of the entire weekend, Dan Runte edged Mark Hall by less than a tire length to erase any doubt as he moved on to the finals and was officially announced by Family Events to the crowd as the 2011 General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags Champion. Derick Anson cruised to the win over Chalkboard Chuck and was looking to really make an impression with a win in the finals.

Dan Runte defeats Mark Hall in the closest race of the weekend in the Sunday semi-finals.

The championship battle started close going into Indy, but Dan Runte like the legend and champion he is, never faltered and now entered the final round with the opportunity to celebrate the title with yet another win on the season. Anson was looking to spoil the Bigfoot party and gave a great effort, giving Runte all he could handle. As they came out of the final turn, Runte began to pull away and took the big win. Bigfoot cruised by the stands as they crowd saluted Dan Runte as the Sunday racing victor and the 2011 General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags champion.

Dan Runte takes the final win of the weekend on Sunday, taking down the impressive Derick Anson in Heavy Hitter.

Freestyle would see great efforts from all the trucks and drivers as they closed out a great 30th Anniversary of the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Chris Bergeron lets it all hang out in the General Tire machine in the Sunday freestyle finale.

Here are the bracket results from the final race and the unofficial final season point standings:

Round One

Bigfoot def. Stomper
Raminator def. Avenger
Heavy Hitter def. Rammunition
Chalkboard Chuck def. Black Knight

Semi-Finals

Bigfoot def. Raminator
Heavy Hitter def. Chalkboard Chuck

Final Round

Bigfoot def. Heavy Hitter

Unofficial Point Standings – After Sunday Afternoon Race

1st – Bigfoot – 2000
2nd – Raminator – 1800
3rd – Rammunition – 1680
4th – General Tire – 1200
5th – Lucas Oil Stabilizer – 960
6th – Avenger – 740
7th – Star Marshal – 920
8th – Chalkboard Chuck – 840
9th – Crushstation – 600
Tie – 10th – Samson – 440
Tie – 10th – Black Knight – 520
13th – Heavy Hitter – 320
14th – Stomper – 160

All of us at TheMonsterBlog.com would like to send a big congratulations to Dan Runte and all of Team BIGFOOT on their 2011 General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags title. We would also like to salute Hall Brothers Racing on their incredible 10 year streak of winning that championship. Although the streak may have ended, there is no denying that their decade of domination is one of the greatest feats in monster truck history.

Stay tuned for an incredible amount of TMB coverage coming your way from the 30th Indianapolis 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals. You’ll see photo galleries from Danny Maass and Paul Harry, a highlight video from Colby Marshall and full event coverage in two episodes of Chris Parrish’s ActionTracks. Be sure to check out the TMB Facebook for more teaser photos from the weekend’s action.

A big thanks to everyone with Family Events for their hospitality this weekend and to all the teams and drivers for their great efforts this season, and also a big tip of the hat to new head track official Lee Collins on really taking some of the racing at the Jamborees to the next level this year with some great track designs including the unique S-track this weekend in Indy.

After such an incredible season of General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags racing, we’re already counting down to Springfield, Missouri in 2012 where the chase for another championship will begin anew!

(Article by Ross Z. Bonar, Photos By Danny Maass & Bob Chandler, Video Footage By Ross Z. Bonar & Michael Harry)

Old Skool Motorsports Tour Kicks Off In Augusta

The premiere event for the new monster truck promoter, Old Skool Motorsports, provided a gathering of monster truck history, the likes of which probably hasn’t been seen since the early days of the sport. The location was Augusta, GA, typically known as the home of the Masters Golf Tournament. However, this weekend it would not be the quiet on the greens of Augusta National as the PGA’s best attempted to win the coveted green jacket that would be making headlines. Instead, it was Gordon Park Speedway, a 1/2 mile, high-banked, red Georgia clay oval making history with monster trucks! Needless to say, there would be no quiet in Augusta this weekend.

The event marked the return of Everett Jasmer’s USA-1 to the national spotlight. After 20 years of limited performances for the famous champion monster truck, Jasmer made the 21 hour journey from Ham Lake, MN to Augusta, GA, to kick off this premiere event. After 20 years, essentially out of any major spotlight, one would fear that the beautiful red, white and blue 1988 Chevy Silverado might have suffered the same fate as many other classic monster trucks from its time and rusted away to nothing. Fear not, Everett Jasmer has maintained the first world champion monster truck in impeccable form. I promise you that the truck is every bit as beautiful as it was when it won the first world championship in 1988. Jasmer would provide a very special role in this event.

The Augusta weekend would see the return of the beautiful 1988 championship winning USA-1 machine.

Old Skool Motorsports, as documented on previously on TMB, hopes to combine old school monster truck history with current monster truck technology and show a real progression of where the monster truck sport has been, currently is, and how it got there.

Between the old school ranks and new school race trucks, this event provided over 250 years of experience in the monster truck industry. Let me say that again for emphasis, 250 years! Where does all this experience come from you might ask? As we have mentioned, Everett Jasmer with his USA-1 was present, one of the original monster trucks. Clearly, not all of this experience could come from the presence of old school style trucks. The faces behind this event are Chandler Lloyd, former driver of the Overtime monster truck and Rodney Tweedy, former Champion Bigfoot pilot.

The racing field of monster trucks provided a vast amount of experience as well. Most of all, we have Bennett Clark in Outlaw Clydesdale. This is the man who used to drive the bright pink truck simply known as Clydesdale, rode Brahma bulls, and is still sporting his trademark black cowboy hat. Rarely to be outdone on experience, Allen Pezo, the man that began in the mid 80’s driving his Lone Eagle monster truck and has been behind the wheel of Predator for over two decades was present in his Predator race truck. On top of that, on hand was Mac Plecker in Ballistic, Lenny Kuilder in Prowler, Zach Adams in Defender and making her competitive debut was “Fancy” Nancy Weston in Black Knight. The event had innovators of the sport as well as newcomers just trying to make a name for themselves. And don’t forget that Kid KJ was on hand in his mini monster, Monster Bear, who is undeniably the future of the sport at seven years old.

Now as the reader, you may be thinking, “That is a lot of experience, but that doesn’t seem to quite add up.” Well, you are correct. There has been some omission to this point. A very special surprise appearance was in store for the fans at the Old Skool Motorsports show. While all participants were being introduced on the front stretch of Gordon Park Speedway, our special guests make their appearance over the banking in turn two. They are none other than Bob Chandler and Jim Kramer piloting THE ORIGINAL MONSTER TRUCK…BIGFOOT 1! This surprise proceeds to launch the crowd in Augusta into orbit as Jim Kramer pilots Bigfoot 1 down the frontstretch with monster truck icon Bob Chandler in the bed of the truck holding the American flag. The truck then eases to a stop, face to face with Everett Jasmer’s iconic USA-1 as Jasmer provides a salute, one icon to another. This is a sight that may have never been seen previously, the first monster truck and the first world champion face to face. This moment held many fans in captivation as well as many of the other monster truck competitors. The phrases “goosebumps” and “choked up” amongst others would frequent the lips of those present the remainder of the weekend. It was truly a magical moment.

The first monster truck and the first championship winning monster truck.

Though the original monster truck would not see car crushing action this weekend, Everett Jasmer in USA-1 was intent on putting on a memorable display. Jasmer then proceeded to climb back into the cab of the USA-1 monster truck and began buckling down into that famous seat. Jasmer, known as one of the original few monster trucks, is the only one of those original icons in the sport to be performing with his truck to this day, and a performance he would provide. Once buckled in, Jasmer hits the ignition on the famous Chevy and the engine ROARS to life. The truck sounds exactly as potent as it did when it was flying the length of straightaways over old junkers. Everett then eases towards the cars to perform a simple car crush, but throttles the USA-1 truck and sends the front wheels high into the air. This would be a crush to remember. Jasmer would proceed to attack the obstacles numerous times before coming to rest on top of the junk cars, climbing out of the cab and saluting the crowd, much to their pleasure. Do not be fooled, the crowd in Augusta were not the only ones enjoying themselves. Each and every driver of the other monster trucks had their eyes intently locked on USA-1 on the fronstretch, it was also fully apparent that this moment was one that Everett Jasmer himself looked forward to so much.

The host of TMB TV's ActionTracks, Chris Parrish, interviews the legend himself, Everett Jasmer.

As show time approached the second day, I once again found myself awestruck and gaping at the wonder that is the beautiful USA-1 truck as it sat on display in front of the venue when Everett Jasmer walked up seemingly preparing to stage the truck for the evening’s event. Observing my dumbstruck facial expression, Everett proceeded to make the ultimate offer, “Jump in and I’ll give you a ride.” As I clamored up the tire with great effort, I tried to avoid falling into what would undoubtedly be a puddle of my own drool. Once in the cab, the resemblance to a stock pickup truck is apparent. The dash is fully intact, though standard gauges are replaced with carefully placed and fabricated racing gauges. Everett prepares to fire the truck and WHOOM the supercharged 572ci Chevy engine rips to life reverberating a sound unparalleled. The truck sits and growls, simply oozing the feel of horsepower. Slowly, the USA -1 truck eases into motion and we proceed to the staging position for the night’s events and straight into a memory I will never forget.

With all of the history that was taking place, as of Saturday evening one moment was still missing and I feared the opportunity might not arise. Then just before show time, the magic moment happens as Bigfoot 1 and USA-1 are staged side by side on the peak of the banking in turn number two providing the photographic moment that dreams are made of. I sprint over to turn two fearing that the opportunity may pass before I can click my camera into exhaustion. I am not the only one that notices this unique moment as several other drivers meander over and behold the sight. As the moment begins to pass, an emphatic exclamation point is placed on an unbelievable weekend that I will never forget.

Did we mention there were modern day monster trucks on hand as well? You'd understand if we'd forgotten.

On top of all the old school euphoria, there was modern day monster truck racing, freestyle and even a wheelie contest, as well as Dirty Dingus Magee, motocross and Kid KJ in his Monster Bear junior monster truck. There were outstanding performances and great action as Mac Plecker in Ballistic swept the entire weekend, however it was the compilation of several of the originators of the sport in one place that made this weekend most amazing. To see all of these historic faces casually mingling in the pit area over the course of the weekend, discussing anything and everything as if it was th 198o’s, was a memory of a lifetime. I cannot thank all of the participants enough for the memories they contributed to this weekend, but it would not have been possible without the efforts of Chandler Lloyd and Rodney Tweedy in organizing Old Skool Motorsports. Be sure to stay tuned to TheMonsterBlog.com for all of the exciting events coming soon from Old Skool Motorsports.

Next Event:
May 13-14, 2011 at the Sevier Co. Fairgrounds, Sevierville, TN

More Information:
www.OldSkoolMotorsports.com

Don’t forget you’ll see all the great action from the event, as well as interviews with Everett Jasmer, Bob Chandler and more on the next episode TMB TV’s ActionTracks premiering Wednesday, May 18th!

(Article & Photos By Chris Parrish)

Monster X Tour Rocks Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway

The Monster X Tour invaded Chico, California this past weekend and TheMonsterBlog.com was on hand for all the action, the tour’s and our first outdoor event of 2011. Some of the biggest names from the West Coast would battle it out in wheelie, racing, and freestyle competitions, including the Monster Truck Mafia’s Rock Star and California Kid, this year’s breakout star Donald Epidendio in Titan and California superstars Time Flys and Fired Up.

Friday night’s action would begin with a with a 2 hit wheelie contest as each truck would hit a 6 car stack then swing around to a slap wheelie bump. It was Garrett Ladelle in California Kid setting the bar with a nice vertical wheelie and slap wheelie to start the competition. After efforts from rookie T.J. Etchison in Fired Up and Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys, Donald Epidendio would come out and raise the bar with a massive vertical sky wheelie on the car stack and though he missed a slap wheelie the first time, an impromptu hit on the van stack would provide the bounce needed for a huge slap wheelie. Finally, Bill Payne would bring his new Rock Star out for its first hit outdoors. Payne jammed the brakes before the car and matted Rock Star, ultimately sending the truck past vertical and onto its roof. Bill would wait for the truck to be flipped back over and deliver a quick freestyle to the fan’s delight, giving Rock Star the wheelie contest win.

Bill Payne in Rock Star wins the Friday wheelie contest with a wild past vertical effort and rollover.

Racing would be tricky as the Monster X Tour crew created a challenging over-under, figure 8 track. In past over-under tracks, the chances of one monster jumping over another were slim to none. This over-under was the exactly the opposite which created some exciting, but tense moments. Each truck would start at the base of each lane, putting one truck right above another much to the delight of the Chico fans. The final round would come down to teammates Garrett Ladelle in California Kid and Bill Payne in Rock Star. Payne would bobble in the final turn, handing the win to Garrett in the Kid who laid down a flawless pass. Garrett was particularly excited about the win as it came on the one year anniversary of the first time he ever drove a monster truck.

Garrett Ladelle celebrates his one year anniversary of his first time driving a monster truck by taking a big racing win.

The final competition of Friday’s show would be freestyle and all drivers let it hang out. Right out of the gate, it was California Kid getting wild and almost sending the truck end over end followed by Kelvin Ramer with some big air in Time Flys. Next out was Donald Epidendio in Titan in one of the best runs TMB has seen in quite some time. Donald launched Titan off of every obstacle, rocked some sick cyclones in the mud, and some great vertical wheelies to the roaring approval of the fans. Knowing he had to go big, Bill Payne only made it three hits into his run before a 3/8’’ bolt let go in the driveline, ending his run short and leaving the freestyle title to Epidendio in Titan.

Donald Epidendio lays down one of the better runs we've seen in a long time to give Titan the Friday night freestyle win.

The weekend finale on Saturday night started out with one of the best collective wheelie contests that TMB has seen in some time. It all came down once again to Titan and Rock Star, as Titan was again vaulted past-vertical into the 5th car of the 6 car set and drove the truck to an insane one wheeled slap wheelie. Payne once again rolled Rock Star over backward and followed up with a quick freestyle after being turned over. In a questionable call, it was Payne in Rock Star getting the win to sweep both wheelie contests on the weekend based on the rollovers and freestyles while Epidendio had the most impressive efforts.

Absolutely jaw-dropping effort from Titan as Epidendio puts it up in a one wheeled slap wheelie.

Racing would see the same two drivers continue to battle it out as Payne and Epidendio won their respective races to meet in the finals. After a close start, Epidendio would bobble in the turn and Payne would make a flawless run to take the victory.

Donald Epidendio had the edge at the start but it was Bill Payne taking the Saturday racing win.

The final competition of the weekend would be freestyle. Teammates TJ Etchison and Kelvin Ramer would both perform nice donuts and wheelies and Garrett Ladelle in California Kid would pose a formidable run before the transmission went out. Again, Donald Epidendio would pilot Titan to a high-energy and big air filled run to the roaring approval of the Chico fans, but it was Payne in Rock Star that would come out with an insane run, ultimately ending in a backwards rollover after pile driving the backside of the over-under jump.

Bill Payne in Rock Star putting together an incredible run Saturday night to win the last competition of the weekend.

A big thanks goes out to Danny Torgerson and the Monster X Tour staff for their hospitality and having the TMB crew on hand for their first outdoor show of the season! Stay tuned for a full photo gallery from TMB’s Ross Z. Bonar this week and don’t miss all the action from the weekend on TMB TV’s Original Series featuring incredible footage from Colby Marshall and Kaedon Berry. Episode 4.5 from Chico will debut on Wednesday, April 27th at 8PM eastern time with all the weekend’s monster truck competitions as well as some extras you won’t want to miss!

TMB Recap: Monster X Tour Rocks Bakersfield

The Monster X Tour rocked the Rabobank Arena this past weekend with three huge shows and TMB was on hand to capture all the action. With a star studded lineup including the always wild Godfather of the new Monster Truck Mafia, Bill Payne and Rock Star, the hard charging Donald Epidendio in Titan, and the legendary Dan Runte in Summit Bigfoot, every competition would be a tooth and nail fight to claim a victory. Friday’s racing bracket was all Donald Epidendio in Titan as he schooled former boss and teammate Bill Payne off the line in the short, straight line drag course for the win. Bill Payne in the all new Rock Star started the weekend strong, earning both the wheelie and freestyle wins with a nice wheelie and high-energy freestyle run to close out round one of Bakersfield.

Bill Payne in Rock Star was the weekend's big winner, sweeping all three wheelie and freestyle contests.

Saturday afternoon’s action began with a huge, past-vertical wheelie from Titan, but was edged out by Bill Payne in Rock Star’s walking wheelie off the car stack. Racing came down to Titan and Rock Star once again, with Epidendio earning the win on the J-style course over Payne, who made an incredible, bicycle save in the corner to keep the brand new body intact. A very strong performance by Epidendio in Titan would again be ousted by a fast paced freestyle from Bill Payne in Rock Star as he stayed perfect in Bakersfield freestyle competition.

 

Donald Epidendio in Titan was strong in every competition, narrowly losing to Rock Star time and again, but Donald did manage to take 2 out of 3 racing competitions.

Saturday evening’s wheelie contest was one of the best overall ever seen by TMB as every truck vaulted vertical. Despite a vertical wheelie and rollover from “Hillbilly” in Black Knight and a massive vertical wheelie by Titan, Bill Payne went on to sweep the weekend’s wheelie contests by catapulting Rock Star vertical and walking the truck off the car stack to the roar of the Bakersfield fans. After a strong weekend but no wins, Runte made it his mission to best the competition in racing and that he did, beating a smooth Garrett Ladelle in California Kid in the final round. To close the weekend, it was Bill Payne in Rock Star sweeping freestyle with two more incredible saves and vertical wheel stands on the beat up car sets.

The competition gave veteran Dan Runte in the beautiful new Summit Bigfoot #16 all he could handle, but he did manage to take the racing finale on Saturday night.

TMB would like to send a special thanks to Danny Torgerson and his crew with the Monster X Tour for putting on three, fantastic shows and having TMB on hand to film Episode 4.2 of the TMB TV Original Series!  Lots of great coverage is coming your way from Bakersfield including a huge photo gallery from TMB’s Ross Z. Bonar along with the aforementioned TMB TV Original Series episode premiering Wednesday, February 16th. You can the same great lineup in action from the previous weekend’s event in Fresno, California on this week’s season premiere of MT Unlimited on Wednesday night at 8PM Eastern. To find out when the Monster X Tour is coming to a city near year, visit them online at www.MonsterXTour.com!

MTRA Weekend In St. Louis

TheMonsterBlog.com Staff was in attendance this weekend for the 24th Annual Monster Truck Racing Association Tech School, Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.  Members from around the country visited the Sheraton Westport Hotel & Conference Center in St. Louis, Missouri to participate in productive discussion on rule changes and on the future direction of the organization as it prepares for its 25th year of working to improve safety in the monster truck industry.  TMB is thankful for all those members who shared their thoughts, ideas and opinions this weekend and for all those members who participate throughout the year in doing the work of the organization.

To finish up the weekend, members gathered for the MTRA Awards Banquet where the membership honors outstanding achievements by those in the organization. Nominations by the membership were accepted and ballots mailed out, with all members having the opportunity to vote on who they found most deserving for each award. With all the votes tabulated, the winners in each category were announced and presented at last night’s banquet.

The first of the MTRA Awards presented was the Safety Award which is given to the individual who the membership believed did the most to advance safety during the preceding year. The winner was Dan Patrick for all his great work as the MTRA’s Technical Director, a very well deserved honor for a man who has done an incredible amount for the industry over the years.

The Sportsman of the Year Award followed, awarded to the member whose peers believed was the best example of sportsmanship in 2010. The award went to Team Scream who can always be counted on to help out a fellow competitor. A big congratulations on another well deserved award for the team consisting of great guys like new owner/driver members Jim Koehler and Chris Bergeron and the rest of their great crew. The MTRA was very appreciative of Jim and Chris joining the organization in 2010.

Each year the MTRA membership honors their fellow member they feel has done the best job wrenching on and setting up trucks over the long season with the Mechanic of the Year Award. Tim Hall was the winner for 2010 as he helped guide the Hall Brothers Racing team to another Monster Truck Thunder Drags title and to many big wins throughout the year.

Tim Hall, 2010 MTRA Mechanic of the Year

Team who have stepped up their programs with new trucks, better quality equipment and stronger performance are nominated by the membership for the Most Improved Team of the Year Award. The big winner this year was Tim Mente’s Team Natural Disaster with the Storm Damage and Hurricane Force monster trucks. The team expanded to two trucks for 2010, each with great looking graphics and ran strong all season, a big congratulations on a well deserved victory.

Steven Thompson, driver of Hurricane Force, accepts the Most Improved Team Award for Tim Mente's Storm Damage team.

The MTRA’s Jr. Associate program gets kids involved with the organization at an early age as a way for them to learn about monster truck safety. As a fun privilege, the members choose their favorite Driver of the Year each season and this year the winner was Doug Noelke and the great looking Tail Gator truck.

During the middle of the Awards Banquet, MTRA welcomed Promoter Members Family Events and Checkered Flag Productions as they honored their champions from the 2010 season. Family Events honored Mark Hall, their Monster Truck Thunder Drags Champion, Rick Long, the Monster Nationals Racing Champion and Jocelyn Perrin, the Monster Nationals Wheelie and Freestyle Champion. Checkered Flag Productions paid tribute to their 2010 points champion Larry Swim with a great video presentation.

Rick Long, driver of Bigfoot #15, is honored as the 2010 Monster Nationals Racing Champion.

Mark Hall receives his 2010 Monster Truck Thunder Drags Championship Award from Family Events.

Larry Swim gives his acceptance speech after being honored as the 2010 CFP Champion.

The 2010 season saw many great new drivers enter their first full season of monster truck competition. From young guys like Steven Thompson and Mat Dishman to Ryan Rice and even a veteran of the sport who completed his first full season of racing a truck this year, Greg Winchenbach, the MTRA membership had a really great group of rookies to choose from. Coming off a huge win at the Pontiac Silverdome a few weeks back, Mat Dishman was named the MTRA’s Rookie of the Year Award winner. Congratulations to Mat on a great honor from his fellow members.

Mat Dishman, driver of Rammunition, winner of the 2010 MTRA Rookie of the Year Award.

Each year the membership chooses the Promoter Member that they feel put on the best quality events, excelled in the area of event safety and who best supported the MTRA. As the only promoter in 2010 to require MTRA Membership from teams running their events and for operating a series that featured great shows all year with some of the top trucks in the industry, we congratulate Vaters Monster Motorsports on a very well deserved win in this category.

2010 Promoter of the Year, Mike Vaters, Vaters Monster Motorsports.

Every MTRA Certified Truck is up for the Truck of the Year Award which allows the membership to pick the truck they felt was the highest quality, best looking, best performing that season. After some great video clips from Colby Marshall and BMPS Video of all the MTRA Certified Trucks, the announcement came that Tail Gator from the Big Dawg 4×4 team was the big winner. Congratulations to Doug & Brenda Noelke and their great team on this honor from their peers.

Big Dawg 4x4 with their Truck of the Year and Jr. Associate Driver of the Year Awards.

Finally the night ended with one of the longest-running and most prestigious awards in monster trucks, the MTRA Driver of the Year Award. Every driver of an MTRA Certified Truck is nominated for this award and MTRA drivers had great seasons in 2010, many even winning championships in series they ran. On the strength of another Monster Truck Thunder Drags points championship and a great season overall, Mark Hall is your 2010 MTRA Driver of the Year. A big congratulations from all of us at TMB to Mark on this great honor.

Mark Hall accepts the MTRA Driver of the Year Award.

A big thanks from all of us at TheMonsterBlog.com to the MTRA for allowing us to assist in recognizing the accomplishments of this great group of teams in 2010. We always have a great time visiting with all of our friends in the monster truck industry and working with them to support our industry’s only safety organization.

TMB's Colby Marshall, Ross Bonar and Kaedon Berry at the 2010 MTRA Awards Banquet.

We would also like to our good friends “Roller” Jeff Richards and Tyson McKenzie from Monster Truck Radio for being on hand to broadcast live from the MTRA Weekend and for bringing the Banquet to fans live online. Monster Truck Radio is also joining the MTRA as a Sponsor Member in 2011 and we thank them for that support of the organization. Check out their MTRA Weekend Coverage on www.MonsterTruckRadio.com and you can see the full Awards Banquet presentation by clicking the link below.

We encourage everyone who visits TMB to consider joining the MTRA. MTRA is a member ran organization and can only make progress and advancements through the work, input and support of its members – whether you are a promoter, a driver, a sponsor, a fan, it doesn’t matter – everyone can play a part in improving your industry. Visit www.MTRA.us for more information on how you can become a member and roll your sleeves up – there is always work that can be done!

Jim & Chris Allen’s Phoenix, AZ WGAS Event Coverage

TMB Contributors Jim and Chris Allen were back on the road at the beginning of the month as WGAS Motorsports returned to the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. See below for Chris’ great event recap and click the link at the bottom to see all of Jim’s awesome photos.

“With the new Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam season right around the corner, the months of October and November are prime time for smaller scale promoters to close out their season of the year prior. And that is what WGAS Motorsports did on the weekend of the 5th, 6th and 7th of November by bringing some monster trucks to the Arizona State Fairgrounds for the first time in several years. The four monsters doing battle are Rod Wood driving the Mexican themed El Perro Loco body on McGruff, Tony “Flying Spaniard” Canedo in Play’ N For Keeps and the two Obsession trucks with Rick Swanson driving Obsessed and Jeff Jones piloting Obsession.

In the first of three nights of freestyle competition, all the drivers gave it everything they had. Every driver had something special about their runs. El Perro Loco and Play’ N for Keeps all had the wheelies and the Obsession trucks had all the air and donuts the Phoenix crowd could ask for with Rick and Obsessed winning. On the second night, Dixon, California’s own Tony Canedo took the win after a wheelie that saw him barely save the truck from flipping. On the final night, almost every competitor had a problem. Jeff and Obsession blew a rear steering hose, Tony and Play’ N for Keeps lost rear wheel drive and Rick Swanson crushed his own steering wheel after throwing it out the window during his final donut! Fittingly, the only driver performing in front of his home state crowd was the only driver to head home with his truck in one piece. Rod Wood became the third different winner in as many nights after a wheelie that saw him bring even the rear wheels up by hitting the dirt so hard with the wheelie bar.

In other action, San Diego’s own Bob Johnson and his Hog Wild ride truck made hundreds of dreams come true by giving rides both before and after every show. Finally, family vacations were flushed down the drain with Motor home Demo Derbies that the fans LOVED! Thanks to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for a great show, and thanks to you, the monster blog fans, for reading, enjoy the photos, and cheer on.”

Thanks again to Jim and Chris for their great work and to the WGAS staff for their hospitality. Click the link below to see all of Jim’s photos.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW JIM ALLEN’S PHOENIX, AZ MONSTER TRUCK SHOW PHOTOS

Dishman, Noelke & Winslow Winners at the Silverdome

Monster trucks returned to the legendary Pontiac Silverdome for the second time in 2010 as Silverdome Events presented the Inaugural Monster Truck Fall Shootout last night. Eleven top trucks competed in racing, obstacle course and freestyle contests as several drivers returned to the Silverdome for the first time in many years and others made their first appearance at one of the most historic venues in monster truck history. The return of the Silverdome has been one of the best stories of the year as Silverdome Events attempts to establish yearly spring and fall monster truck events for hopefully many years to come.

With a lineup of generally more racing-focused teams and drivers, the “Tornado-style” course was sure to produce some great action and did not disappoint. Mark Hall in the Raminator was the odds on favorite going into the weekend and lived up to expectations in his round one bye run, setting a blistering pace. Only Doug Noelke in Tail Gator appeared to be in Hall’s league through the first round. Trouble would strike for Raminator in round two during a defeat of Ben Winslow in Bounty Hunter as the motor gernaded ending Hall’s evening in heartbreaking fashion.

Hall’s exit left Noelke as the favorite and he marched his way to the finals, dispatching Big Dawg, Rammunition and Bar’s Leaks Eliminator along the way. Rookie Mat Dishman in Rammunition would return as the fast loser in the semi-finals and defeated Bounty Hunter, who was replacing Raminator. That setup a re-match from round two as the veteran Noelke would take on the rookie Dishman who had been getting faster every round.

The grand finale of racing saw both trucks neck and neck all the way to the final turn when Noelke bobbled, hitting a turning car and having to do some fancy driving to keep from rolling the Gator. Dishman would have tough to beat even without the missing and he powered Rammunition across the line to capture the huge win in front of the over 100 RAM Trucks represetatives on hand for the event. The win was even more special in that it was Dishman’s first ever racing victory in monster trucks.

Following the big racing competition would be a special timed obstacle course challenge where drivers would follow a set path around the obstacles on the track against the clock. Bounty Hunter and Rammunition were quick and Diehl Wilson in Virginia Giant laid down a great pass, but in the end no one would touch Noelke this time around as he powered Tail Gator to victory.

The evening’s big finish would be the freestyle competition as Shelley Kujat in Shell Camino kicked things off with a solid run to set the bar. Zach Adams highlighted his run in the Rislone Defender with a great slap wheelie while father Greg Adams in Bar’s Leaks Eliminator laid down a solid effort as well. Diehl Wilson had the ground shaking with some incredible donuts and Dale Gerding in Big Dawg walked a couple of slap wheelies across the center of the floor. Mat Dishman looked to follow his racing win with a big freestyle but it wasn’t to be as a hard landing snapped the right front wheel off Rammunition.

One of the first contending runs of the night came from what you would probably say was the top performing truck overall on the evening, that being the Tail Gator. Doug Noelke hit a huge slap wheelie across the center of the floor combined with some big air and a wild, wheel out the window cyclone. The Gator would maintain the lead in freestyle the majority of the night.

One driver who fell short of Noelke’s score was Andy Hoffman and War Wagon. Hoffman had what many thought may have been the best run of the evening as he kept up a great pace, hitting everything on the floor. War Wagon had some of the biggest moves as well as Andy cross-threaded one of the big van stacks for the best vertical launch of freestyle at one point and then finished his run with a huge cross-thread reverse move on the same stack.

Noelke’s score would eventually be tied as Joe Cypher in the Airborne Ranger laid down a great freestyle performance with some of the best moves of the night. Cypher hit a couple big slap wheelies across the center of the floor and was the only driver to cross-thread the big blue stack.

The final truck to compete was none other than Ben Winslow in the Bounty Hunter. “Bobo” as he is often referred to as, has been riding a great hot streak since joining 2Xtreme Racing with a big racing win in Montreal and sweeps of smaller shows in Bounty Hunter. Suprisingly Winslow was having trouble getting a good rhythym going for the majority of the run as he tried to work with well used obstacles. But just as time was coming to a close, Winslow launched Bounty Hunter in some of the most extreme air we’ve seen all year long. The tough landing would end the performance but it was enough for the judges to proclaim the victory for Bounty Hunter in yet another huge success for driver Ben Winslow.

The TMB crew had a great time having the opportunity to return to the Silverdome for the second time in 2010 and the privilege to be able to bring you coverage from this historic venue is one we greatly appreciate. For that we send a big thanks to Ryan Westlake and everyone with Silverdome Events for their hospitality. The final TMB TV episode of 2010 will featured the Monster Truck Fall Shootout and will premiere Wednesday, December 8th at 8PM Eastern. Colby, Kaedon, Chris and Ross did some great work on this episode and also be watching for huge photo galleries from Ross and Paul Harry. Stay tuned as plenty of great coverage from the Silverdome is coming your way right here on TMB!

Arizona State Fair Monster Truck Freestyle Recap & Teasers

WGAS Motorsports returned to the Arizona State Fair, bringing Monster Truck Freestyle back to the venue after a couple years away. TMB’s Lauren & Lynette Bonar traveled down for the Saturday night event which featured Obsessed, Obsession, El Perro Loco and Play’n 4 Keeps in a freestyle battle. All the trucks did a great job as Jeff Jones in Obsession had a great slap wheelie and donut and Rick Swanson in Obsessed had a strong run.

Rod Wood in El Perro Loco grabbed some nice air and a tailgate dragging slap wheelie, but it was Tony Canedo in Play’n 4 Keeps taking the win after making a great save to keep the truck from rolling over.

A big thanks to all the teams for a great show and to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their hospitality. Watch for more photos and video highlights coming soon, right here on TMB.

Montreal Monster Spectacular – The Doug De Nance Report

(Recap By Doug De Nance) “X marks the spot! While that might be a line out of pirate legends, the legend of monster trucks in Canada, Chris Arel made a new high water mark with a monstrous X in Montreal’s Monster Spectacular show that brought out top media reporters like Ross Bonar of TheMonsterBlog.com to report first hand on this incredible event.

The X in question was in the middle of the most unique monster truck racing course ever seen on this continent. The giant floor of the Olympic Stadium was laid out in a huge dirt oval with an X made of up two distinct school bus jumps criss-crossing through the center. To top it off, the trucks would have to race this challenging course side by side.

And what a slate of trucks there were to take on this incredible track. Fourteen of the top trucks on the planet had been assembled for one night in front of 45,000 fans. Just listen to the names: Bounty Hunter, Avenger, Black Stallion, Miss Bigfoot, Bad Habit, Rock Star, Brutus, Aftershock, plus the newest star in monster trucks, the Chris Arel The Red Baron truck and many more all came with guns a blazin’ and engines roaring.

The night began with all 14 trucks pitted in a wheelie contest, hitting the car stacks on either side of the oval portion of the track. It was such rapid fire action that the Big O looked like a Saturday afternoon traffic jam at the local mall – except every vehicle was a monster truck. Like a three ring circus, there was so much air-born action it was hard to keep track as truck after truck soared vertical. Despite many incredible wheelies, Jay Snyder and Illuminator lit up the judge’s scorecards for the win with a 12 o’clock tail stand on the cars that sent him crashing to the concrete like a giant redwood under the lumberjack’s axe.

Racing was exactly what was predicted by the incredible track – wild and crazy. The tacky clay dirt caused many trucks to hook up extra hard. Bad Habit found that out the hard way in the very first round of bracket racing, tumbling the truck over and tearing the body completely off and sending Trey Myers and Iron Warrior to the quarter finals. The driver of The Red Baron was a masked mystery coming into the race, but the respect was fast coming as he made Aftershock his first kill of the night. Black Stallion had an easy time of his race as Chris Bergeron took Brutus over an unintended obstacle, one of the Super 4 racing cars that had been abandoned on the side of the track.

The wildest and craziest race of the first bracket series saw the wild man from Washington, Bill Payne and Rock Star matched up against the pretty petite Amber Walker in Miss Bigfoot. Payne had said that this was the final night for the original Rock Star truck as he is busy designing a brand new version from the ground up. That should have been the tip off to Amber Walker that Payne would do what he does the very best – destroy everything in his path. The two trucks were bumper to bumper as they launched off the start line and over the first bus stack through the center X of the track. When they came to the first turn something had to give. So Payne gave it a little extra and ran up the rear tire of Miss Bigfoot, sending Payne up onto his back wheelie bar and Amber Walker wobbling from side to side. Somehow she kept the rubber side down but stalled out. Payne managed to get Rock Star back down to earth upright and finished the lap to move on to the quarter finals.

The story of the Red Baron is the stuff of legend from World War I. But a new legacy to that legend was been written during the subsequent rounds of racing by the unknown driver of the new Red Baron truck. Former world champions like Bounty Hunter and Avenger were expected to be able to adapt to the full contact that this new track created. A racing legend like Mike Vaters in Black Stallion would have been a good bet to make to the finals, but lost out to Jimmy Creten. However, it was the Red Baron astounded all who watched the masked driver win again and again to eventually face Bounty Hunter in the final race.

From a truck perspective, it was a draw. Both trucks were Ford Expeditions with 572 cubic inch engines kicking out more than 1800 horsepower. That wasn’t a surprise since Chris Arel had commissioned Jimmy’s 2Extreme Racing Team to design the new Red Baron truck. So the wild card was unknown track record of the driver of the new truck versus the legendarycompetiveness of Jimmy Creten.

Time seemed to slow down to slow motion as the trucks took off from the starting line. Side by side they launched off the bus stack and into the first turn. The only advantage seemed to be the inside lane as it gave the Red Baron a bumper width lead. It was the thinnest of margins but they say racing is a game of inches. The Red Baron only needed an inch to defeat Bounty Hunter for the racing win.

The Red Baron driver kept the mask on to keep the mystery intact as the trucks headed into freestyle. There was even a red plane as an obstacle that looked tailor made for the racing winner. But Joe Sylvester lived up to his trucks name as the Bad Habit driver tore up everything on the track. Sylvester has set the new world record for the monster truck longest jump in September of this year, sailing the Cadillac 208 feet and besting the 202 foot record held by Bigfoot for many years. Well, Sylvester looked like he was trying to beat his own record as he flew through the air off every obstacle he could hit. While the Red Baron and trucks like Black Stallion, Bounty Hunter and Avenger all had spectacular runs; it was Bad Habit making a habit of rocking freestyle – just like he had done at the Monster Spectacular finals in June.

The mystery of the Red Baron was solved at the conclusion of freestyle as the driver wearing the Mexican wrestler mask took to the mic. The southern charm and soothing accent of Ben “Bobo” Winslow didn’t require the driver to be unmasked to be recognized. The former driver from the Sudden Impact team, who had dazzled fans on the Monster Spectacular tour during the summer, had continued to wow the crowd behind the wheel of the new Red Baron. Winslow looks to fly high in his new ride.

As is always the case with Monster Spectacular, Chris Arel treated fans to much more motorsports entertainment, ranging from autocross with Baja styled racers culminating in a champagne soaked trophy presentation to a street style Super 4 series with supped up 4 cylinder customs to a full contact tough truck battle to welcoming back Kamikaze the jet quad and Felix Famlard and his incredible sport bike freestyle team. Perhaps the biggest treat was the introduction of Arel’s newest venture with Vic Theriault, The Legends of the Fighting Arts. Many stars from the fight game, including Jean-Yves Theriault witnessed the kickoff of the program with awards going to such famous fight names as Michel Jette, JF Bergeron, Regis Levesque and Jacques Rougeau. There will be much more to come next year with Legends of the Fight Arts.

It’s always a sad moment when the crowd has left the building in Montreal in October because it means the last Monster Spectacularshow of the year is over. But the good news is that a new season of Monster Spectacular is just around the corner in 2011. Watch for the biggest monster truck show in Canada to rumble into your area soon.”

A huge thanks to Monster Spectacular Tour Announcer Doug De Nance for another great season of keeping TMB posted on all the happenings with the Monster Spectacular tour!

Red Baron, Bad Habit Big Winners In Montreal

The TMB crew headed north of the border this weekend for the huge fall Monster Spectacular in Montreal, Quebec as Chris Arel Motorsports put on one of the biggest events Canada has ever seen at Olympic Stadium!! The event featured 14 of the top trucks from the U.S. and a wild new race course design that was sure to create excitement and controversy. The event kicked off with a wheelie contest as all 14 trucks took one hit on the cars. Despite great efforts from Brutus, Bounty Hunter, and Red Baron, it was Jay Snyder in the Illuminator taking the win as he stood absolutely straight up and down before rolling hard onto the roof.

The unique race course would not only see the trucks running side by side over school buses, but would also see the trucks racing off road style after the first jump with no lanes, anything goes, “rubbin’s racing”. The concept wouldn’t take long to provide the controversy as wildman Bill Payne in Rock Star drove hard into the corner following Amber Walker in Ms. Bigfoot, making contact with her truck and nearly sending her over as she made a great save to keep the truck on all fours. Payne ended up on his tailgate before backing down onto all fours and continuing on for the win.

The rest of the racing brackets would be much tamer as the truck on the inside lane at the start usually held the advantage. Bounty Hunter, Black Stallion, Brutus and Red Baron would be the final four and like so many other times in Montreal, it would eventually come down to an all 2Xtreme Racing final round as “Bobo” Ben Winslow would take on Jimmy Creten for the big win. The officials deemed Red Baron the fastest truck in the semi-finals giving him lane choice and that was all it would take for Winslow to hold off the boss for the biggest win of his career.

Freestyle would see all the trucks taking on a tough and treacherous course that provided plenty of big air and wow moments through the competition. Avenger, Bounty Hunter, Black Stallion and Red Baron all turned in stellar runs but it was Joe Sylvester in Bad Habit who rocked Olympic Stadium with an epic performance to take the victory.

TMB’s Ross Z. Bonar and Colby Marshall had a great time once again attending Montreal and both filmed for what should be an amazing episode of TMB TV, which will premiere Wednesday, November 10th at 8PM Eastern. Stephanie Cotnoir handled the photo duties and came up with some amazing shots that you will soon see in a full photo gallery – check out the TMB Facebook and become a fan to see lots more teasers from the show. TMB thanks Chris Arel Motorsports for all their support in helping make this coverage possible and we are already looking forward to the next Monster Spectacular in Montreal!! Stay tuned for great coverage from this major event coming soon.

Inaugural 4×4 Off Road Truck Show Challenge A Huge Success

The first ever Gas Guzzy 4×4 Off Road Truck Show Challenge was held to the delight of a massive crowd at the American Heritage Village in Auburn, Indiana. This event was the first of its kind as it celebrated the early history of monster trucks with nostalgia style car crushing, monster tank machines and even monster trucks floating across a 12 acre pond. In addition, a huge turnout of mud bog and obstacle course competitors were on hand to keep the action going all day long, along with a great assembly of beautiful show’n’shine machines.

The stars of the event were the “old school” monsters as monster truck veteran Allen Pezo brought out his newly restored original Predator truck, event organizer Jeff Cook had the newly completed nostalgia truck Shotgun Harry on hand and Andy Hoffman from just down the road in Huntington showed up with his Nitecrawler tank. Rick Romanini out of Michigan was a huge part of the event, showing up with a collection of old school machines including the original Duraliner Giant, now called Uncle Slam; the original Polar Bear which had been named Live Wire; the original Star Trax Tank now called the Iron Reaper; and the only mud truck that managed to defeat the deep bog all day, Johnny Law.

The nostalgia car crushing was incredibly popular with the fans, the monster tanks got them on their feet and cheering as Andy Hoffman blasted the mud bog in Nitecrawler and the highlight of the day was the 12 acre pond float where Predator, Shotgun Harry and and an old school style Chevrolet driven by Jeremy Hosmin all successfully floated from one end of the pond to the other.

The event was a blast from the past and the fans on hand were delighted by seeing how monster trucks got started – for some, it was reliving moments they had seen in person many years before and for others who were too young to remember or even not yet born, it was a chance to experience the glory days of monster trucks. Everyone walked away already anticipating the next event as it is sure that there will be other monster truck people dusting off old chassis and beginning to restore them just so they can be a part of the fun next year.

This Inaugural 4×4 Off Road Truck Show Challenge was an important test for promoter Jeff Cook and his Gas Guzzy Events & Marketing as after its huge success, now they can begin to slowly expand the concept and hope to bring a taste of nostalgia monster truckin’ to fans in more places each year.

TheMonsterBlog.com staff was out in force for the event as Ross Z. Bonar co-hosted the event with Jeff Perrin of Perrin Motorsports while Colby Marshall, Kaedon Berry and Chris Parrish filmed for episodes of TMB TV’s MT Unlimited and ActionTracks. Superphotographer Paul M. Harry captured all the action for a huge photo gallery. It was great to have nearly all of the TMB staff in one place again this year and it was a reminder of how lucky we are to have not only a very talented group but more importantly, a great group of people in our little family.

Stay tuned for coverage from this great event here on the site and on our Facebook page. A huge thanks to Jeff Cook and all his friends/family with Gas Guzzy Events for a historic event and to Allen Pezo, Andy Hoffman, and Rick Romanini for their great respect of monster truck history in keeping these old school machines alive.

Fans do us a favor and go check out and bookmark www.GasGuzzy.com and also www.WildmanJeff.com and stay tuned for all the developments they have in growing this nostalgia event.