Countdown to the Silverdome Q&A – Ryan Westlake

One week from now monster trucks will return to one of the most historically significant venues in the history of the sport as the Pontiac Silverdome hosts the 1st Annual Monster Truck Fall Shootout!!  11 trucks are scheduled to compete in racing and freestyle including Bounty Hunter, Raminator, Tail Gator, Virginia Giant, War Wagon, Big Dawg, Rammunition, Shell Camino, Bar’s Leaks Eliminator, Airborne Ranger and Rislone Defender.

The return of the Silverdome has been one of the biggest and best stories of 2010 and TMB is excited to return for our 10th and final episode of TMB TV Season 3. We’ll cover all the action with three camera angles and two huge photo galleries. With tickets at only $13 at, this event will surely be one of the best values of the year.

As we countdown the days of this final week leading up to the big event, we’ll interview one of the big personalities and get their thoughts on the Monster Truck Fall Shootout. Check back every day for another quick Q&A with one of the event’s big stars!

11/06/10: Q&A w/Ryan Westlake | Countdown Status: 7 Days to Go

TMB: For our first Countdown to the Silverdome Q&A, we’re talking to Ryan Westlake, the new Assistant General Manager and Event Coordinator for Silverdome Events in charge of event production. Ryan, start by telling us a little bit about the idea and philosophy behind the Monster Truck Fall Shootout event.

RW: Our goal with all the of the events produced by Silverdome Events is to produce affordable, high quality, family friendly entertainment. The key with this event is, it’s starting to get a bit cold outside for the fun, family outdoor events and so the Monster Truck Fall Shootout is a great segway as the entertainment moves indoors. We want to create an opportunity for the family of 4 to be able to come in and have a great time at an affordable price – and what better than monster trucks and tickets for only $13 in advance.

TMB: Sounds great and we are really hoping for a huge turnout for the event. Tell us a bit about the lineup of monster trucks you’ve assembled for the Monster Truck Fall Shootout.

RW: When we assembled the lineup of teams, we kind of went along with the same, family focused philosophy that is behind the show – we wanted to bring in some of the independent, family-run teams and give them the chance to shine at a major stadium event, which is a chance that they may not get as much during the year. Something like 95% of stadium events are done by Feld and consist of mostly Feld-owned trucks, so there aren’t as many chances for the independents to be a part of the big events. We’ve got guys like the Hall Brothers, the Noelkes, Creten’s team, who have all been family-run teams forever, a father-son team in Greg and Zach Adams, and even a husband-wife team in Ron and Shelley Kujat.

TMB: As great as the Monster Jam stadium events are, we definitely agree that a stadium show full of independents is great to see and that is why we at TMB get so excited about being able to cover these events for our fans. Now a lot of our fans may not necessarily know your name, but you have been around monster trucks for a long time – tell us a bit about your work int he monster truck industry.

RW: I’ve been in the business for over 12 years, starting way back in the days of USA Motorsports, on through the various names of what is now Feld Entertainment, and then of course I was the Operations Manager at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois which used to host the yearly Monster Mash events. We took those events from a sparsely attended event at first all the way to an annual 7,000+ sellout. I’m really excited about this opportunity here with the Silverdome to bring monster trucks into this historic venue each summer and fall and be a part of creating fun, family-focused events.

TMB: We at TMB definitely support your efforts as we would love nothing more than to enjoy monster trucks at the Silverdome twice a year, every year. Now tell us a bit about what you’ve got in store for these guys regarding track setup and who you think will be the ones to beat.

RW: We’ll be doing racing and freestyle and the course will feature what we’re calling “Tornado-style” racing where the trucks start facing in opposite directions in the center, race around the outside and then it becomes your standard Chicago-style. Freestyle will feature big obstacles and something for slap wheelies – it will be scored and then there will be a winner when its over. For racing, Mark Hall has got to be one of the favorites, the Hall Brothers are always tough and they’ll be going after it extra hard as I’m sure some folks from RAM Trucks will be in attendance. Diehl Wilson is a classic racer, no one in the field has more experience and even though he’s been doing mostly smaller events in recent years, you can’t count him out. Noelke is strong too. In freestyle, I think Andy Hoffman will be one to watch in War Wagon – he’s a two-time indoor freestyle champion and he’s usually good for some big moves. I haven’t seen Ben Winslow drive before but no matter who Jimmy puts in the truck, Bounty Hunter is always one of the ones to beat in freestyle. And of course guys like Adams and Shelley Kujat are pretty close to home, so they’ll have some family and friends in attendance they’ll want to run strong for.

TMB: Lots of great storylines, should make for an exciting event. We’d like to thank you for taking a few minutes with us Ryan, let’s finish up here by giving you a chance to tell us what we’ll be seeing in addition to the monsters and where fans can go to get their tickets.

RW: The event will also feature some great quad racing – not the scripted “Team Michigan vs. Team Indiana” kind of nonsense, but actual full out, real racing with 18+ guys out there giving it their all on a flat track complete with chicane and a big tabletop. They’ll be plenty of room for them to get a lot of speed, should be fun to watch. Fans should head on over to our website at for advance tickets at only $13, with all fees included and a free pit pass. They can also order through the box office by calling 248-338-2500. For the local fans, look out for trucks at area businesses on Friday as they’ll be out promoting the show. Thanks in advance to all the fans coming out to support the Monster Truck Fall Shootout!

The Monster Truck Fall Shootout is this Saturday, November 13th – 11 of the nation’s top trucks compete in racing and freestyle at the historic Pontiac Silverdome!  Advance tickets are only $13, all fees included at – get yours now!