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

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(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: Monster Truck Fall Nationals – Turlock, CA 2015

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(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

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(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 – Del Mar, CA 2015

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

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(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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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Del Mar, CA 2013

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(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our annual trek to the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, California for a series of showdowns between a national name and a home state hero. For the past several years, Kelvin Ramer and his Time Flys machine have made several attempts to replace Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter as King of the Del Mar monster trucks. And he was going to try again this year. However, this was no two truck show. Right behind Jimmy was Trent Montgomery in Iron Outlaw. But Kelvin had backup of his own. That was his own daughter, young Rosalee Ramer, driving Detour. Rick Swanson returned with Wrongway Rick to the place where it debuted one year ago. Son Eric Swanson drove his trophy truck bodied-monster wearing the normal Obsessed logo to round out the field.

Day one of three at Del Mar was the unique High Jump competition under NCAA rules. Bringing the bar down three times meant elimination. Clearing the bar meant raising it. The last truck that could still clear the bar was the winner. In the afternoon show, Bounty Hunter not only won but kept all four tires still on with a height of 8 feet, 2 inches. The evening show started the showdown. First, the 1934 Ford Coupe with Kelvin at the wheel threw down the gauntlet of 9 feet, 3 inches. Jimmy had the officials raise the bar even higher and still cleared it. Not to be outdone, Iron Outlaw and Detour jumped in to help their teammates. But when those two left the building, the game of “Top this!” truly began. It went on and on until the bar couldn’t go any higher. At a venue record 10 feet, 9 inches, Jimmy and Kelvin would tie for the win. But things were just getting started.

Day two was a wheelie competition. Longer distance plus higher vertical equaled more points. Trent Montgomery had come a long way in one day from smashing the High Jump bar the day before with an honorable run in the evening that held the lead until the last two and finished the day in third place. The elder Ramer showed he meant business, getting the loudest applause of the show up to that point in Time Flys. But Jimmy Creten won the Wheelie Competition at Del Mar last year and started the repeat with the crowd roaring for him. In the evening show, Time Flys gave it one last shot with power, slap and sky wheelies all in the same run. But Bounty Hunter rarely shares the trophy a second time. Double wheelies, tons of momentum and excellent pre-wheelie air gave the Tonganoxie, KS native the Wheelie contest win for the second year in a row by better than 10 points over second place. With only a day of all or nothing freestyle to go at Del Mar, Kelvin had only one more try to prevent Bounty Hunter from cleaning house.

Day three was all out freestyle. Bounty Hunter only pulled further into the lead in his first run with a very high score. But the win did not come without a price. Moments before his time expired, Jimmy blew a rod in his engine. Despite the crew’s best efforts, Bounty was out for the day, ending his chances of a clean sweep. With that, all signs appeared to point to Kelvin Ramer sharing the crown with the Bounty Hunter driver. But Time Flys would also find engine trouble. Eric Swanson and Obsessed had finished third place every competition they entered. This was the third day of at least one competition for Eric. By getting scores on the board and finishing his run, third time was the charm for Eric to take the day win. With three different winners in three days, the competition in the Del Mar arena remains tighter than ever.

Along with the monsters, trophy karts started the show on days one and two, while scaled down versions of mid-twentieth century dirt racing jalopies called mini dwarf cars did on day three. Next on the calendar for us is just a few hours up the road at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA, for the annual KaBoom with freestyle motocross, monster trucks and fireworks extravaganza. Well then, thank you for reading, a warm thank you to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Kaboom Monster Truck Show – Pomona, CA 2012

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(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

The annual KaBoom! Event in Pomona, CA, has been sellout every year since its inception in 2002. Its 10th birthday was celebrated side by side with America’s birthday by again being held on the 4th of July. The Monster Trucks performing were Jimmy Creten in bounty Hunter, Geno Kinal in Iron Outlaw, Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys, Rosalee Ramer in Detour and Eric Swanson in Obsessed.

To get the crowd pumped up for the monster trucks, four of the most fearless freestyle motocross riders you could find had the crowd screaming for the favorite – The Backflip, and the riders, including Metal Mulisha representative Jimmy Fitzpatrick, delivered.

But the show soon became a nightmare for Jimmy Creten really fast. Despite a bye all the way to the finals where Iron Outlaw joined him, the former World Champion broke a ring and pinion in the front differential right off the starting line of the Chicago-style, Roundy-round course, causing him to wash out on both turns, and giving up the win to his teammate, Iron Outlaw. The front end mechanical goblins, which had followed him up to Pomona from Del Mar, proved too much for Jimmy to fix in time and the entertainer had to have the curtain come down early.

Similarly, Eric Swanson in Obsessed lost second gear and had difficulty finishing his freestyle run, just barely clearing the big center jump. Iron Outlaw and Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys performed the duet freestyle finale, crashing through the extra long mobile home much to the crowd’s excitement. Iron Outlaw was declared the freestyle winner with Rosalee and Detour finishing a strong second.

The fans forgot all about being sad about Bounty Hunter breaking when the opening fireworks went off, saying “goodbye” and “thank you for coming” with a BANG!

Next for us at “The Allen Report” is one of the biggest monster truck shows of the summer. Every August, some of the biggest players of the monster truck game gather at the Rocky Mountain Raceways in Wet Valley City, Utah for a “Clash of the Titans”. “The Allen Report” will be there to cover the activities. Thank you for reading, a special thanks to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their wonderful hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Del Mar, CA 2012

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(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This edition of “The Allen Report” comes to you from Del Mar, California where Jimmy Creten in the Bounty Hunter is thinking San Diego County Fair Championship three-peat. Rick Swanson has introduced a new body design called WrongWay Rick. The other participants were Kelvin Ramer and Time Flys, the Youngest Female Professional Monster Truck Driver in the World, Rosalee Ramer in Detour, Eric Swanson the Youngest Professional Male driver in the World in Obsessed and Russell Steeley in Iron Outlaw.

The monsters would be competing at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar in two shows a day for four days with a different contest each day. The combined scores from both shows in the same day would determine the day’s winner. Day 1 consisted of a high jump contest. Detour jumped 9 feet 2 inches in the first afternoon show and a roof-raising 12 feet 8 inches for a day total of 21 feet, 10 in to take the first win.

Day 2 was a wheelie contest day. This saw Eric Swanson nail a well executed wheelie in Obsessed, but broke a ring and pinion a monster at the same time. However, Jimmy Creten had his game together, never once getting a wheelie that was less than vertical and the length of the floor to take the win.

Day 3 featured a long jump contest with football field style measurements. Fan favorite Time Flys jumped a respectable 64 feet but that was only good enough for 4th place in the early afternoon show. But then came the late afternoon show and the 1934 Ford flew a neck wrenching 71 feet. These two distances made him the 3rd different winner in 3 days of competition.

The 4th and final day was a full blown freestyle. The trophy cart races were fast and furious, but the crowd was anxious to get down to the meat and potatoes. Bounty Hunter did not disappoint. His perfect 40 in both shows of the day made Jimmy Creten a 3 time San Diego County Fair Undisputed Champion.

Next up for us at “The Allen Report” will be the 4th of July celebration called simply KaBoom! at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Many thanks for reading, a special thanks to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their hospitality and access to the pits and drivers, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Jam – Phoenix, AZ 2012

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(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Survival is crucial to success in monster truck racing. If you can’t keep your truck in one piece the whole night, someone else will walk onto the winner’s stage. And this year’s show at the Chase Field Monster Jam was a prime example of that. The show featured both Grave Digger and Son-Uva Digger with Carl Van Horn and Ryan Anderson driving. The “General” himself, Brian Deegan drove the Metal Mulisha for the first time in his career. Former World Finals fastest qualifier Marc McDonald brought El Toro Loco back. Linsey Weenk returned to Phoenix with the Lucas Oil Crusader. Former sprint car driver Taryn Laskey filled in for Nicole Johnson in Tasmanian Devil. The other teams were: Mitch Tulachka and Shane Phreed in Geter Done and Robo Machine. Allen Pezo and Ron Nelson drove Predator and Pouncer. Kelvin Ramer drove Time Flies and former California Kid driver Garrett Ladelle drove Detour. Rounding out the field were Mark Schroeder and Rod Wood driving the Felon and McGruff.

Grave Digger was ready to face the former Bustin’ Loose driver in Pouncer in the semi-finals when he lost oil pressure coming to the start line due to a rollover during introductions and had to be replaced by Felon, whom he had beaten the round before. Mark took advantage of the opportunity and won. In the other half of the semis with Son-Uva Digger taking on Crusader, Ryan spun out coming down the main straightaway of the so-cal style track only to get the win back when the former Canadian hit the jammer obstacle and flipped over. In the finals a broken ring and pinion in the back axle of Felon meant Predator, who had lost to him back in the opening round, had to take his place. In the final, it was neck and neck until the third member of the Anderson equation spun out again, giving Allen Pezo a huge win.

Brain Deegan set the bar early with a lead score of 20 and held the lead most of the night. El Toro Loco took the lead with only the two “Diggers” to go thanks to a score of 23. The man they call “CVH” saved his truck from another rollover, but was unable to fire back up and keep going with time still on the clock. When all was said and done, Ryan Anderson took the win by just one point, extending his perfect record of freestyle wins to five. But in true Anderson fashion, trophy or not, he came back out and unleashed his inner beast, giving the Digger-maniacs in the stands a wicked encore.

Monster Jam at Chase Field gets bigger every year this year’s show is one of the reasons why. For us at “The Allen Report”, Firebird Raceway is next on our schedule in April. Until then, thanks for reading, enjoy the great photos by Jim Allen and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: WGAS Monster Truck Tour – Del Mar/Pomona, CA 2011

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(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

The 4th of July is always an important date on the modern calendar and monster trucks are about as American as they come. That is why six of the best monsters this side of the Mississippi River arrived for the annual show at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, California, followed by the KaBoom show at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. The six combatants are Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter, Darren Migues in Iron Outlaw and the father and son duo Rick and Eric Swanson in Obsession and Obsessed. Kelvin Ramer drove Time Flys while Hog Wild ride truck owner Bob Johnson and Chris Etchison shared driving duties in Fired Up.

For three days and two shows a day, the monsters made the Chevrolet Del Mar Arena their stomping grounds. The first day saw decent efforts, but Jimmy Creten had his cyclones down pat and took both shows that day. Business picked up tremendously on the second day when Darren announced through amazing runs that he would lay down to no one, his teammate included. With just a few points separating the two halves of 2Xtreme Racing, the final day saw sold out shows in both the afternoon and evening. In the end, the win was awarded to the Bounty Hunter, having a perfect six-for-six record to wrap up the Del Mar shows for another year.

Independence Day was celebrated with exactly those same monsters at the packed Fairplex in Pomona. The show opened with the high-flying, death-defying Freestyle Motocross riders, including Nikki Danielson and Jimmy Fitzpatrick of the famous Metal Mulisha doing what they do best, despite a close encounter with Mother Nature’s fury. Roundy-Round racing saw Eric Swanson in Obsessed take down Fired Up, but the end for him in racing came when Iron Outlaw, who had knocked off Time Flys, defeated him to take on Bounty Hunter in the finals. Jimmy Creten crossed the finish line first, but in the process, he hit a turning pole handing the win to Migues in Iron Outlaw. However, even that could not stop him from literally jumping over his own team truck to finish freestyle. As always, fireworks closed the incredible KaBoom event.

During the weekend, Kelvin Ramer said he is building a yet to be named third truck that, like Time Flys, will be a 1934 Ford Coupe. However, the body will be roofless and the nose will be slanted banana style. Until next time, thank you for reading, enjoy Jim Allen’s great photos, and a big thanks to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their hospitality. Cheer on!

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TMB TV: Highlights – Monster X Tour – Chico, CA 2011

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Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 8th-9th, 2011
Videographer: Colby Marshall

Lineup: California Kid (Garrett Ladelle), Fired Up (TJ Etchison), Rock Star (Bill Payne), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer), Titan (Donald Epidendio) [Read more…]

TMB TV: Original Series Episode 4.5 – Chico, CA 2011

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Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 8th-9th, 2011
Host: Ross Z. Bonar
Videographers: Colby Marshall, Kaedon Berry

Lineup: California Kid (Garrett Ladelle), Fired Up (TJ Etchison), Rock Star (Bill Payne), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer), Titan (Donald Epidendio) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: Monster X Tour – Chico, CA 2011

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Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 8th-9th, 2011
Photographer: Ross Z. Bonar

Lineup: California Kid (Garrett Ladelle), Fired Up (TJ Etchison), Rock Star (Bill Payne), Titan (Donald Epidendio), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer) [Read more…]

Monster X Tour Rocks Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway

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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!

The Allen Report: Monster Jam – Anaheim, CA 2011

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(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

The Monster Jam superstars lowered the curtain on a triad of shows in the home of the Anaheim Angels Saturday, February 12th, 2011. The stacked 16 truck field featured the following top names in monster trucks: Charlie Pauken in Grave Digger, Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction, Adam Anderson in Grave Digger The Legend, Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter, Cam McQueen in Nitro Circus, Candace Jolly in the Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Becky McDonough in Dragon’s Breath, Scott Buetow driving Iron Man, Pat Gerber in Shocker, Don Frankish with Maniac, Scott Anderson in Jurassic Attack, Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys, Nick Owens driving Iron Outlaw, Mark Schroeder in The Felon, Dan Rodoni and The Patriot and Mike Pappas in Tropical Thunder.

The track of choice was an appropriate one for the locale and venue, the very popular so-cal style. That means they fall off a tabletop jump, turn away from each other, fly down a straightaway and race back the way they came. Early racing highlights saw Bounty Hunter advance with a bye after Jurassic Attack suffered fatal engine trouble during intros and Time Flys upset new World Finals qualifier Nitro Circus in the opening race, free of qualifying. In one of the semis, the blue and gray Digger and Max D crossed the finish line side-by-side with Grave Digger The Legend winning by an inch or two, if that much. The other Digger outraced Bounty Hunter to setup a history making Digger vs. Digger final. In the end, Adam proved himself more than just a freestyler by taking the huge racing win.

Freestyle started off a little slow, with most of the first half the field slowly strutting their way around the track with little air. Nick Owens in Iron Outlaw would hold the lead for the longest time with a score of 22. Even the young Anderson and Owen’s boss Jimmy Creten could not outscore him. But then, there were two. Tom Meents has four World Freestyle championships to his credit and showed why, finishing his run with an upside-down cyclone on the tabletop. With a score of 29, Meents looked to see a trophy for the first time at the Big A in a few years. To close the show, the reigning freestyle champion of the world Charlie Pauken gave the fans a potential winning freestyle in Grave Digger, but he only impressed the judges enough for second place, giving Meents the victory.

Although the Anaheim Monster Jam season was over, two weeks later Monster Jam would make its debut at the Los Angeles Dodger Stadium. With Monster Jam, a great show is always guaranteed. On that note, thank you for reading, enjoy Jim Allen’s great photos and cheer on, we’ll see you down the road!

All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2011.