The Allen Report: San Diego County Fair Monster Trucks – Del Mar, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we head to the annual San Diego County Fair in the picturesque town of Del Mar, CA. Our friends at WGAS Motorsports have been entertaining fans at the annual fair for 22 straight years with a vast variety of motorsports entertainment, from tuff truck racing, to UTV racing, to freestyle motocross, and much more. But on the closing days of the fair, the shows held at the Del Mar Arena were headlined by six dirt slinging, high flying, bumper dragging monster trucks in freestyle action.

From just up the road in Menifee, CA were the father and son team of Rick and Eric Swanson. Twenty year old Eric continued to run his 1968 Ford F-100 body on Obsessed while Rick carried on with his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored yellow body. For the first time ever, Jim Creten had all four of his trucks in the house. 2Xtreme drivers Mikeal Christensen, Christian Norman, Austin Minton and Sinjan Gergick all took turns driving Knucklehead and Iron Outlaw. Once more, Dawn Creten took the helm of her usual Scarlet Bandit and Jim Creten lead the charge in his traditional Bounty Hunter, complete with the updated version of his American Sniper Chris Kyle Foundation body.

As with years past, the afternoon shows were exhibition only while the evening shows would utilize the sport’s traditional freestyle scoring system to crown an Overall Day Champion. A tabletop jump, two wheelie bumps, a small roller with a kicker and the customary Del Mar huge hill were all in play. This meant that winning the Overall Day Championship would not come easy for any of the participants.

The first day of monster truck action got things off to a roaring start. Rick Swanson made several admirable attempts at slap wheelies while Mikeal Christensen made some massive leaps off the tabletop. Eric Swanson turned in a high speed, high energy run from start to finish with huge air and Dawn Creten combined consistent huge air and dirt churning cyclones to stay in the hunt for the Overall Day Championship.

But, the crowd favorite and former World Finals Champion was waiting in the wings. Jim Creten dug his truck’s wheelie bar into the dirt, shot for the sky multiple times and continued long after his two minute time expired. In the evening show with scores and a trophy on the line, the 2Xtreme Racing team owner and founder had just enough points altogether to take the Overall Day Championship on the first day of monster action.

As the next few days marched by, the action inside the arena only got progressively hotter. The second day of action saw each driver step up their game and great performances all around, but Jim Creten, even with the strong performances by all of those who went before him, was able to repeat as the Overall Day Champion.

The third day of action saw a special twist to the show format. Eric and Rick Swanson began the spectacular trend of team trucks performing freestyles at the same time. Their respective runs were topped off by Eric putting his truck’s tires on top of those of his father’s vehicle. In the evening show with judges watching, both trucks were scored together as a team and did very well. But Jim and Dawn Creten, ever the competitors, accepted the challenge. When they took to the track, the husband and wife team got frequent huge air and ended their runs with simultaneous, lightning fast cyclones. When the couple’s winning score was handed down by the judges, the capacity crowd roared with approval.

On the fourth and final day of the 102nd annual San Diego County Fair on Independence Day, WGAS officials had a surprise ready for the fans who showed up to the arena for the final time this year. From the opening freestyle onward, the action inside the arena only got more and more exciting. Each truck was almost done with their freestyle time when the next truck in line came roaring into the arena. This process continued on until the father and son Swanson were the only trucks still on the track. As one last thanks to the fans for coming, all the monsters did one noisy parade lap around the perimeter of the arena, bringing the curtain down on another successful year of WGAS monster truck action at the San Diego County Fair.

While the monsters were waiting their turn to take to the track, the crowds were entertained by several different kinds of scaled down race cars with young gals and guys at the wheel. Mini dwarf cars and junior outlaw sprint races showcased future race drivers in the kids behind the wheels. With many battles for position and several races ending in photo finishes, it was clear that these kids have just as big a will to win as the adult racers.

With Del Mar behind us for the year, we don’t get much time to rest as only two weeks later we take a familiar trip at a new time of year. We have followed monsters to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, CA in both the spring and fall, but this is our first time seeing them during the fair itself in late July. Coverage from there will be coming soon. That said, thank you for reading, a huge, heartfelt thanks to John and Charlene Borba, Chelsea Kessler, Greg and Carol Atherton and all of the WGAS Motorsports family for their warm hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to the peaceful town of Turlock, CA. It’s a quiet place where most thrills are supplied by the sports teams of nearby big cities. But on the second weekend of May, the thrill seeking crowd was inside the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds ready to experience some thunderous, high flying, high speed monster truck action. Eight competitive monster trucks and one mini monster arrived to do battle in hot and heavy freestyle competition.

Second generation driver Hunter Souza brushed the off season dust off and took the wheel of the Wrecking Machine mini monster. International Monster Truck Hall of Fame member Terry Woodcock was in the house inside the cockpit of the 35th Anniversary Cyclops. All three of the “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo’s monsters came to town. Tony himself, as always, drove the new trophy truck bodied Play ‘n For Keeps. David Tucker was the pilot of the Survivor machine and was ready to make thunder around the arena and Jeff Souza, Hunter’s father, was ready to rumble as the driver of Enforcer. Eric Swanson and his beautiful 1968 Ford F-100 bodied Obsessed were locked and loaded. Father Rick Swanson would settle for nothing less than the win in his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored Obsession. Dawn Creten was ready to give the boys a run for their money in Scarlet Bandit. Finally, 2005 World Freestyle Champion Jim Creten had his eyes on first place with American Sniper Bounty Hunter in tow.

With two tabletop jumps, a big hill and a construction barrier for wheelies all on the track, it was going to take a great deal of effort to walk away with the trophy and celebratory champagne. Then, to top things off, a near capacity crowd filed in for both shows and all signs pointed to great monster truck action for all.

On Friday night, Scarlet Bandit set the pace with a good run featuring big air, hitting the arena entry construction barrier the wrong way and nice combos to score 75 points with perfection being 100. Next in line was Survivor, who had terrific cyclones and more big air, but just missed the lead by five points at a score of 70. Terry Woodcock and Cyclops had steering issues and did not make it out of the pits. Wrapping up the first half of the field was Enforcer. Jeff Souza delivered the biggest air so far, lightning fast cyclones and even cross threads to raise the bar to new heights with a score of 95.

Truck after truck came after the police themed monster vehicle, only to fall short. Then, Bounty Hunter came storming in with dirt digging slap wheelies, hitting the big hill the wrong way and massive air over the tabletop. When the judges score was handed down, Bounty Hunter and Enforcer found themselves tied for the win. The real winners, however, were the fans. And as the co-champions got into a champagne spraying battle, the spectators continued to cheer.

The final show of the weekend on Saturday evening saw freestyle once more a heated affair, with all drivers looking to better themselves from the day before. Former World Finals Freestyle runner-up Dawn Creten and Scarlet Bandit did just that, with great donuts, big air and hitting obstacles the wrong way upped her score to 80, five whole points better than the night before.

Terry Woodcock had worked much of Friday night and most of Saturday to fix broken steering in the hopes he could give a significantly better show the second night. It worked and the monster with a legendary name got great air and brought the front tires up in an almost perfectly vertical wheelstand right as time expired to temporarily take the lead by one single point at 81.

A potent combination of huge air, high speed, hitting obstacles sideways and then a nasty crash put Enforcer in a familiar place, the top of the leader board with a score of 95. In spite of the severity of the crash, Jeff Souza was unhurt. But Bounty Hunter was not to share the trophy a second time. Incredible speed, fantastic combos, vertical slap wheelies and dizzying cyclones had the crowd roaring and the judges were impressed. With a perfect score of 100 Jim Creten and Bounty Hunter took the freestyle trophy.

In other racing action, a new addition arrived thanks to WGAS Motorsports in Quad Wars ATV competition. It was Turlock riders against a rival CA team. Even controversial mid-race actions by the evil team couldn’t stop the hometown heroes from taking the main event wins both nights. Also in the arena was vehicle against clock tuff truck racing. The second night, the opening two vehicles in the street legal class got big air multiple times, culminating in much damage and loud cheers from the massive crowd. Finally, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, commander of the Fitz army and Cal Valone wowed the crowd with death defying, incredible tricks, climaxing in the fan favorite backflip train. The riders were hesitant to perform due to the gusty wind conditions, but when show-time arrived, both riders stepped up and made the best of the sketchy conditions.

All that said, we at “The Allen Report” are going to take a rest from monsters for a while. But we will return soon from one of our favorite shows every year, the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. We are excited to give you Monster Truck loving fans more coverage from that venue. Well, thanks very much for reading, a huge “Thank-You” to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler, Greg Atherton and each member of the WGAS Motorsports crew for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Fall Nationals – Turlock, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a long trek to Turlock, California for the second time in 2016, and third time overall. Upon our arrival, we headed to the Budweiser Monster Truck Fall Nationals at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, presented by our friends at WGAS Motorsports as their last show of the season. Six high flying, ground pounding monster trucks came to the fairgrounds to slug it out in the car munching madness of freestyle.

From just a few hours away in Vacaville, CA was the team of Tony Canedo. Teammate and friend Jeff Souza drove team truck Enforcer while “The Flying Spaniard” Tony himself, as always, got behind the wheel of his bright red Play’n for Keeps. Rosalee Ramer took a weekend off from studying at Georgia Tech to take the wheel of her Wild Flower monster truck. Her father, Kelvin Ramer, took to the track in his trusty 1934 Ford Coupe he calls Time Flys. Finally, husband and wife Jimmy and Dawn Creten arrived, ready to invade the fairgrounds and defeat the competition. Once more, Dawn was behind the wheel of Scarlet Bandit, with the words “You can’t catch me!” displayed with pride on the tailgate. Jimmy Creten was piloting his usual American Sniper Bounty Hunter. With professional judges ready and a perfect score of 100 on the line, every move would count and consistency was crucial.

During the driver’s meeting earlier in the day, a random draw was held to determine freestyle order, a rare moment for WGAS Motorsports. Much to the dismay of the Grand Champion from the spring event last May, Jimmy Creten, he was out first. But in true Bounty Hunter fashion, the former World Champion came out with a storming run. One of Bounty Hunter’s first moves was a sky wheelie on top of a pair of pink-painted vans which crushed them down flat, but he also performed some beautiful slap wheelies, big air and even a rare triple combination of moves across the motorsports arena floor to set the standard for those still to come. With a score of 95, it wasn’t going to be easy for the remaining monsters to clear the bar set by Jimmy Creten.

Tony Canedo hit the tuff truck jumps and nailed slap wheelies for an admirable effort and score of 87. Time Flys continued the wheelie assault and hit the van stack with power. Jeff Souza and Enforcer smashed the crush cars and reached for the sky in another great freestyle. The last run of the afternoon went to the 2016 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year, Rosalee Ramer and Wild Flower. The young lady set to compete on the Monster Jam FS1 West points championship next year had a fantastic run going with huge air and a spectacular slap wheelie when she got a little too close to the arena boundaries and she had to be shut off by the event officials. Upon restart, Wild Flower was in great shape to continue on, but then a steering line blew and the run ended then and there. None of the competitors that had gone after Bounty Hunter achieved a higher score and Creten was the afternoon champion, but it wasn’t game over yet for his rivals, as there was still one more show to go that evening.

In the evening show, all drivers gave great freestyle efforts as they tried to top each other in a different order from the afternoon. Big air was accomplished, donuts were spun and what was left of the crush cars were smashed down even further. In a rare moment, Jimmy Creten was beaten in the evening show by Kelvin Ramer and Time Flys. Both had put together incredible efforts to impress the professional judges and when the scores were handed down, Bounty Hunter had fallen short of Time Flys by one single point. But the honest competition over two shows and very decent crowds both times had assured a very good season ending weekend for the WGAS Motorsports crew.

But the big monsters weren’t alone at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. Jeff Souza’s son Hunter brought his Wrecking Machine mini-monster to give a good show and, in the evening, brought the crowd to its feet with a sky wheelie that was a little too steep, ending in a backwards rollover. Hunter was just fine and the spectators loved it anyway. Also, there were two rounds a show of two different classes of tuff truck racing, creating four rounds of tuff truck racing altogether. Fastest time in both sessions was the winner. The competition was a heated affair, with drivers of both classes pushing hard to take the winner’s plaque.

On that note, we at “The Allen Report” are in the middle of preparation for the 6th Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Ceremony & Reunion in Auburn, Indiana. On the eve of Friday, November 11th, there will be a meet n’ greet with both past and incoming inductees as well as other classic monster truck owners and drivers. In the late morning of November 12th, there will be a history discussion with the inductees followed that evening by an inductee autograph session, a hearty meal and the Hall of Fame ceremony itself. We hope to see you there.

Well, thank you all for reading. We especially want to extend our gracious thank-yous to John Borba, his daughter Chelsea Kessler and the whole WGAS Crew for having us this weekend and past all this past year, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris”, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Kaboom Monster Trucks – Pomona, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our way to Pomona, California, a town rich in motorsport history as the home of one of the first professional drag strips and that of the official NHRA museum. But on this day, five giant monster trucks took to the Pomona Fairplex to do battle in head to head racing and motor home munching, high flying freestyle.

Jimmy Creten came to town in his slick looking Yellow Stripe Bounty Hunter with East Coast regular Matt Cody behind the wheel of the pickup Iron Outlaw. Rod Wood, piloting McGruff, made the trip from just outside Tucson, Arizona. Rounding out the field was Vacaville, California’s Tony “Flying Spaniard” Canedo driving Play ‘n 4 Keeps with teammate Jeff Souza in tow, who took the wheel of Enforcer. This is a name that garnered legendary status throughout the West Coast under ownership of Terminator’s Gary Schott in the ‘90s before being retired. However, the name was brought back into the public eye at this venue two years ago as the third member of Tony’s trio of monsters.

WGAS officials constructed an interesting double-semi-oval race course. Both trucks would race down off the giant tabletop in the middle of the floor in opposite directions. Next the monsters would go around a hairpin turn before putting the heel to the steel and jumping past each other over the finish line ramp. With the odd number of monster vehicles in the field, reigning champion Bounty Hunter got a bye to the finals where he would await the winner of a standard four truck bracket.

To open racing, Jeff Souza and Enforcer upended McGruff and Iron Outlaw beat Play ‘n 4 Keeps to advance to the semi-finals. With the right to face Bounty Hunter on the line, both trucks ran a great race, but it was Iron Outlaw who took the win. The championship race was one for the history books. The finish was so close, officials could not agree on who to call as the winner. So it was decided to rerun the championship race. With the title still undecided as the green flags waved again, both drivers pushed even harder, but this time, the race was more decisive, with Bounty Hunter narrowly taking the win and retaining his championship. But freestyle was still to come.

Upset about his racing loss, Jeff Souza went out first. With a good run going, his rear axle got away from him coming down from the big hill and blew the rear tire. McGruff put himself in the hunt with great slap wheelies, smashing one of the two motor homes and having consistent good speed. Play‘n 4 Keeps destroyed the other motor home, carried beautiful wheelies and even performed some dusty donuts to the delight of the crowd. Even a bent champagne couldn’t keep the veteran from having a great run. But Bounty Hunter could not be stopped. Driver Jimmy Creten gave the judges everything they were looking for and so much more. Right as his run ended, the other trucks that were still mechanically good came back on the floor. For the finale, all the monsters came down the side of the big hill and went right into cyclones. That was the cue for the preliminary pyrotechnics. This set the stage for the fireworks, a longstanding tradition at the KaBoom! event. Once more, the display from smiley faces, to all sorts of color combinations, to the usual red, white and blue, the Fourth of July tradition of fireworks had the fans cheering the whole time.

In other action, Chachi “The Rocketman” Valencia loaded himself into a cannon and shot himself one hundred and sixty-three feet through the air and landed perfectly in his safety net. As you can expect, the crowd was going nuts. Another KaBoom! tradition continued with four of the top freestyle motocross riders in the nation delivering a wide variety of death defying tricks, the most notable of which were backflip variations.

Well, we at “The Allen Report” are turning our attention to the month of August and the biggest monster truck event in the state of Utah, the 20th Anniversary Maverik Clash of the Titans. This year is slated to be the biggest of them all with no less than 16 trucks on the card for figure 8 racing, wheelie contest and freestyle. Well monster truck fans, thanks for reading, a sincere thank-you to Chelsea Kessler and all the WGAS officials for another great time on Independence Day, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: San Diego County Fair Monster Trucks – Del Mar, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report” we travel to San Diego, California, a city with no shortage of sport and entertainment venues, from football’s Qualcomm Stadium to baseball’s Petco Park. But on the first few days of July at the San Diego County Fair, the big crowds were inside the Del Mar Arena. Six monster trucks arrived to do head to head battle in roof scraping, dirt slinging freestyle competition.

Making the trip from Tonganoxie, Kansas, were Jimmy Creten piloting Bounty Hunter with wife Dawn Creten right behind in Scarlet Bandit. From just up the road in Watsonville, California, were the father and daughter team of Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer. Kelvin was in his sleek 1934 Ford coupe Time Flys and Rosalee, the 2016 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year, in her usual Wild Flower. Finally, Rick and Eric Swanson arrived looking to bring the title back to their home state. Rick, once more, was driving his 20th Anniversary Obsession with Eric at the wheel of the Baja bodied Obsessed.

In the opening show on Friday, Obsession kept his speed up and turned in his customary great donuts for a reasonable score of 19. But Wild Flower was not as lucky. The camshaft got jammed within the engine that cut the power of the truck, causing internal motor damage and Rosalee was unable to fire back up. Kelvin’s luck wasn’t much better, for an attempt to crush the anti-breast cancer car in the middle of the arena floor tore a steering hose. But the Swanson family wasn’t safe from mechanical gremlins either. Obsessed had a great run going with lots of air when a head gasket blew, finishing the truck for the weekend. Driver Eric wasn’t finished, however, as he hopped in his father’s vehicle for the rest of the weekend. But Jimmy Creten could not be stopped. His signature coasting slap wheelies, incredible speed and multiple trips to the sky had the crowd roaring by the time the red flags waved, signifying the end of his two minute time. The crowd continued to cheer when Jim’s scores of tens across the board came up, giving him the win.

Over the course of the weekend, Jimmy Creten used terrific wheelies, ongoing high speed, great air and, most of all, kept his truck together through the whole run again and again to take the clean sweep of freestyle victories. Time Flys and Wild Flower would get fixed but as Kelvin was doing a wheelie on the second, a champagne snapped and the monster lost his left front wheel. Multiple teams pitched in and Kelvin’s ride was repaired in good time. Eric continued to showcase his talent for monster driving in his father’s truck, getting very good air, picking up the family tradition of great cyclones and often getting good scores for it. Wild Flower was put back together eventually and the crowd favorite Rosalee didn’t miss a beat, consistently putting together all around exciting runs.

During breaks in the monster action, the audience was treated to the future of auto racing as kids of various ages raced mini dwarf cars and junior outlaw sprints. The small scale of the race cars didn’t have much impact on the racing action itself; however, as multiple battles for positions, the occasional spin and great action all around had the crowd cheering again and again. Also performing were Shane Plato and Corbin Shockey in the Skull Krusher and Monster Buddy mini monster trucks. Based on the good performances of these two youngsters, the future of the sport is in good hands.

Also in attendance throughout the weekend was a retired FDNY firefighter who had been trapped by World Trade Center debris for three days after 9/11 before being rescued. Before each show, he gave a passionate speech on how blessed we as Americans are. We at “The Allen Report” were thrilled to hear such an American hero speak on Fourth of July weekend.

Next for us at “The Allen Report” is a show just up the road in Pomona, California, a town steeped in motorsport tradition. More monster action is expected to come from there. That said, thanks for reading, a special thank you to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler and all of WGAS Motorsports, not just for their great hospitality but also for letting your humble writer announce in front of the crowd for the very first time, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals – Turlock, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

“The Allen Report” is back and we return to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, California, this time in the month of May for the popular Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals. Turlock is a relaxed, peaceful town where the biggest disturbance is normally the frequent freight train. However, there was some additional noise in the air on Friday and Saturday night where seven high flying, car smashing monster trucks arrived to do battle in bus munching, donut spinning freestyle.

Making the trip from Tonganoxie, Kansas were Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter. Popular hometown driver Russell Steeley stepped up to drive team truck Iron Outlaw for the final time so he could give his pulling truck his sole attention in the near future. From just down the road in Menifee, California, were the father/son duo of Rick and Eric Swanson. Former Monster Jam Young Guns Shootout competitor Eric was behind the wheel of his pickup bodied Obsessed and Rick continued his 20th anniversary of professional monster trucking in his breathtaking Obsession, complete with a film strip featuring just a fraction of his numerous TV and commercial appearances running down either side. Rounding out the field was Tony Canedo, who brought all three of his trucks, ready to give a good show to the crowd. David Tucker would take the wheel of Survivor and Jeff Souza would pilot Enforcer while Tony himself stuck to his usual Play ‘N for Keeps.

With two buses to crush, a van stack at the arena entry, two great spaces for getting into the spin cycle and several tuff truck jumps to get the monsters off the ground, there was no room for error and every freestyle point would count. As the huge crowd filed in for the pre-show autograph session and the show on Friday night, the drivers could feel the pressure.

First truck out was Jeff Souza and Enforcer who immediately got huge air over the bus stack. Obsession with Rick Swanson at the wheel came out next, got good air and great donuts. The third truck in the order was Survivor, and the iconic Pacific Northwest name under new ownership put together a great run, clearing the tuff truck jumps and doing a nosedive over the bus that saw driver David Tucker just barely bring it back down onto all fours. Next in line was Iron Outlaw, who cleared the entire bus stack completely, kept the speed up the whole run and did some lightning fast cyclones as Russ Steeley finished up his second to last ever run in a monster truck. His effort rewarded him with a score of 86 with 100 being perfection. Truck after truck came after him but it wasn’t until the last truck in line and former World Champion hit the floor. Jimmy Creten matched Russell jump for jump, but carried several great wheelies across the fairgrounds floor to take the lead and the Friday night victory.

The second and final night of monster truck competition saw a big crowd and bigger efforts by every monster pilot in the field. However, the end of the night came a little too soon for the first truck out Enforcer. Coming down from the van stack awkwardly, the 1990s West Coast monster legend in its new form blew the left front tire. Jeff Souza wasn’t hurt, however, and that was the closest to a major incident the whole night. In his last ever appearance behind the wheel of a monster vehicle, hometown hitter Russell Steeley gave huge air over the bus, and an admirable wheelie attempt to put him back in the lead with the championship in sight. The young rising star Eric Swanson pushed his machine to its limit, clearing the bus stack both ways and turning in his family’s usual great donuts to get the crowd screaming. Last out was the only driver who could earn back to back titles. Jimmy Creten gave everything the fans wanted; big air, wheelies and donuts. It was not an unrewarded attempt either as the second perfect score in as many nights garnered Bounty Hunter the double victory. Both the 2Xtreme drivers were interviewed for the crowd and were thankful to the fans for showing up to support them.

In other race action, Jeff Souza’s son Hunter, Lee Plato’s son Shane and Corbin Shockey practiced for the big leagues with the Wrecking Machine, Skull Krusher and Monster Buddy mini monsters, respectively. Also there was one at a time, vehicle against timed tuff truck racing which saw the crowd cheering the reckless drivers and booing the cautious ones. One of the tuff truck participants was former Mike Welch Motorsports driver Sammy Baca out of Modesto, CA. Finally, the future of racing was on full display as kids drove Junior Outlaw Sprint and Mini Dwarf racecars on a tight oval around the bus stack with very little room to overtake. This made the racing exciting for all in attendance. During opening ceremonies for both shows, a moment of silence was held for longtime WGAS announcer Lloyd Massey who tragically passed away just days before the Monster Jam World Finals this year.

Okay, now we at “The Allen Report” look to make a return to Longview, Washington, to support Mike Welch Freaks of Freestyle and we do so hoping for better weather this time. In the meantime, thank you for reading, a special thank you to Chelsea Kessler and the entire WGAS crew for having us, enjoy the photos, don’t forget to follow us in real time under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris” on Facebook and Instagram, and cheer on!

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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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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 – 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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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2015.

The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Del Mar, CA 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel back to the San Diego County Fair, a place that, for one hundred years, has delivered on fun rides, great food and exciting entertainment. And on the first, second and third of July, the entertainment was in the Del Mar Arena, where seven ground pounding monster trucks arrived to do battle in wheelie contest the first day, freestyle the second and, on the third day, qualifying in the afternoon and racing in the evening. The husband and wife team of Jim and Dawn Creten came to town, Jim in his sleek new black and yellow Bounty Hunter and Dawn in her traditional Scarlet Bandit. The “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo drove his newly purchased Survivor and Roger Stidell, as usual, piloted the trophy truck bodied Destroyer. The father-daughter team of Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer were in the house to defend their southern California home turf, Kelvin in his 1934 Ford Coupe Time Flys and Rosalee in her usual Wild Flower. Finally, Rick Swanson and his crowd-amazing Wrongway Rick arrived.

On the first day, the wheelie competition was heated. Rosalee Ramer showed how far she has come in only three years of competition with almost perfect verticality and great distance. Not to be outdone, her father Kelvin managed to get his monster on its back tires incredibly well, going vertical more than once. But Jim Creten had his wheelies down pat, often coasting mid-wheelie and not wasting any time. A perfect score of thirty saw Jim Creten take the afternoon show win. Only a few hours later, the crowd was back in the arena and so were the monsters. The Wild Flower driver gave admirable efforts, successfully going vertical on a couple occasions. But Jim Creten was unstoppable, shoving his wheelie bar deep into the dirt, not letting off the gas and delivering fantastic distance to get the double victory.

The second day saw high flying freestyle. Rick Swanson proved the namesake of his truck by getting good air, established great flow from one jump to the next, and, as always, finished off his run with some great donuts. Or reverse donuts, depending on which way he was going. Tony Canedo gave honorable attempts in Survivor’s freestyle run, but numerous teething problems hindered the trucks performance, and it showed on the judges’ scorecards. But Jim and Bounty Hunter are former World Champions, and they threw down. Cyclones, big air, great wheelies, you name it, Jim Creten did it. Even though his streak of perfect scores came to an end, it was still high enough to get the double victory.

During first show qualifying on the third and final day, Rosalee Ramer had officials looking at their stopwatches in amazement as she clocked in an incredible 13.40 seconds on the roundy-round course. Even Jim Creten and Bounty Hunter couldn’t overtake the multitalented eighteen year old, just more than one tenth of a second off the fastest time. With an odd numbered field, it was decided that Bounty Hunter would get a bye into the final round where the winner of a standard four truck bracket would face him. With the chance to face the winner from the past two straight days on the line, Rosalee Ramer and Dawn Creten faced off in an all female semi-final. In the first turn, Rosalee rolled hard into the freestyle ramp. Only the truck was damaged in the rollover and Rosalee was A-OK. Spectacular as it was, Dawn Creten won by default and with it the right to face her husband for the championship. The black and yellow Bounty Hunter crossed the finish line first, but WGAS officials concluded that Jim hit the second ramp with only one tire, costing him the race and the clean sweep. The overall Racing victory went to Dawn Creten, in only her third set of shows since April of this year, proving that the unbelievable horsepower extends to all members of Team 2Xtreme.

The crowd was also treated to Mini Dwarf car and Junior Outlaw Sprint car racing preceding each set of monster chaos. Numerous attempts to overtake and several close finishes had the crowd on edge from flag to flag more than once. The lack of repeat winners in either class showcased how competitive motor racing is, no matter the size of car.

And that’s a wrap from us here in Del Mar, as we next head north of Los Angeles to Pomona, where Fourth of July fireworks, backflipping freestyle motocross, even more monster action and a brand new stunt await us. That said, thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2015.

The Allen Report: Monster Flip Fest – Pomona, CA 2014

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we headed to the Fairplex in Pomona, California for the Los Angeles County Fair opening “Flip Fest”. Mark Schroeder arrived to pilot Devastator. For fans of Mark’s Felon, I’m happy to report that he’s bringing it back for first quarter next year. Also in the house was Marana, Arizona’s own Rod Wood driving McGruff. The father and daughter team of Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer came to town with Time Flys and Wild Flower. The incredibly talented seventeen year old was extremely popular with the audience. Crowd favorite Jimmy Creten stepped out of his usual Bounty Hunter and into Iron Outlaw, built especially for a huge, never before seen stunt to round out the night. Finally, making its world performance debut was the Knucklehead monster truck driven by rock band Five Finger Death Punch lead guitarist Zoltan Bathory.

To start the night’s insanity, Jim Fitzpatrick of the famous Metal Mulisha lead the charge in sky high, high danger freestyle motocross. When the initial competition ended in a two way tie, “Taco” Bell and Fitzpatrick were given one more jump each to win the crowd over. A huge Backflip Superman gave Fitzpatrick another mark in the win column.

In monster truck freestyle, vertical wheelies and good momentum put McGruff the Crime Dog in the lead early. Zoltan Bathory, despite having driven Knucklehead only once before, put the crowd on its feet with an exciting run. Rosalee Ramer got the fans pumped up with the biggest air of the night to this point followed by a rollover. The Devastator had some wheelies of his own, a big jump and even better speed to give him tens across the board from the judges. Living up to the event’s name, the epic finale showcased Time Flys and Iron Outlaw backflipping in unison just moments after a pair of FMX riders did the same right between them. The ensuing cheers from the capacity crowd were long and loud!

With another great show from WGAS Motorsports in the books, we at “The Allen Report” shall very soon jump on a plane bound for Indianapolis to attend the final and biggest 4 Wheel Jamboree of the season. Well, thank you for reading, a sincere thank you to our friend John Borba and the WGAS crew for their gracious hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2014.

TMB TV: Original Series 7.3 – Monster X Tour – Chico, CA 2014

tmbtv_original

Episode Information

Episode: Original Series 7.3
Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 11th-12th, 2014
Host: Ross Z. Bonar
Videographers: Colby Marshall, Ross Z. Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

California Kid – Tehvyn Goodwin
Identity Theft – Brad Keller
MegaMerc – Gabe Montoya
Rock Star – Bill Payne
Summit Bigfoot #19 – Larry Swim
Titan – Donald Epidendio

Featured Links

www.BIGFOOT4x4.com
www.EpidemicMotorsports.com
www.MonsterXTour.com
www.StraightUpRacing.com

[Read more…]

TMB TV: MT Unlimited 5.2 – Monster X Tour – Bakersfield, CA 2014

tmbtv_mtu

Episode Information

Episode: MT Unlimited 5.2
Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Rabobank Arena
Location: Bakersfield, California
Date: January 17th-18th, 2014
Videographer: Colby Marshall

Featured Monster Trucks

California Kid – Tehvyn Goodwin
Mega Merc – Devin Ball
Monster Truck Mafia Bigfoot #19 – Larry Swim
Nasty Boy – Travis Sturges
Rock Star – Bill Payne
Unnamed & Untamed – Sam Sturges

Featured Links

www.BIGFOOT4x4.com
www.MonsterXTour.com
www.StraightUpRacing.com
www.StugesMotorsports.com
[/column] [Read more…]

TMB TV: MT Unlimited 5.1 – Monster X Tour – Stockton, CA 2014

tmbtv_mtu

Episode Information

Episode: MT Unlimited 5.1
Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Stockton Arena
Location: Stockton, California
Date: January 10th, 2014
Videographer: Colby Marshall

Featured Monster Trucks

California Kid – Tehvyn Goodwin
Mega Merc – Devin Ball
Monster Truck Mafia Bigfoot #19 – Larry Swim
Nasty Boy – Travis Sturges
Rock Star – Bill Payne
Unnamed & Untamed – Sam Sturges

Featured Links

www.BIGFOOT4x4.com
www.MonsterXTour.com
www.StraightUpRacing.com
www.StugesMotorsports.com
[/column] [Read more…]

TMB TV: Original Series 6.3 – Monster X Tour – Chico, CA 2013

TMB TV's Original Series Presented By E3 Spark Plugs

Episode Information

Episode: Original Series 6.3
Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Fairgrounds
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 12th-14th, 2013
Host: Ross Z. Bonar
Videographers: Colby Marshall, Ross Z. Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

American Graffiti – Justin Cluster
California Kid – Tehvyn Goodwin
Reverse Racer – Ed Miller
Rock Star – Bill Payne
Titan – Donald Epidendio
Vi-Cor Bigfoot #15 – Darron Schnell

Featured Links

www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.E3SparkPlugs.com
www.EpidemicMotorsports.com
www.MonsterXTour.com
www.StraightUpRacing.com

[Read more…]