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!

Photo Gallery

All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2016.

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!

Photo Gallery

All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2016.

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!

Photo Gallery

All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2015.

Video of the Week – 10/08/11

Week Ending: October 8th, 2011
Truck(s) Featured: King Krunch (David Smith)
Video Type: Fan Video
Courtesy: www.YouTube.com

Description: Strong freestyle effort from David Smith in King Krunch on the final day of the 2011 Coors Monster Truck Fall Nationals in Turlock, California.

Video of the Week – 10/09/10

Week Ending:  October 9th, 2010
Truck(s) Featured:  Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten)
Video Type:  Fan Event Video
Courtesy:  www.YouTube.com

Description:  Jimmy Creten puts on an incredible freestyle performance in Bounty Hunter at the WGAS Motorsports event in Turlock, California.

Obsession Racing Press Release 11

(Menifee, CA) In the last four weeks Obsession Racing has done four events in three weekends. It started out on Rick’s Fathers Birthday which was Sunday, July 18th. The event was held at the Turlock fair for John Shipman Motorsports. This was a freestyle show that consisted of three rounds. The first round was donut display. The second round was sky wheelie exhibition and the third and final round was a one minute freestyle exhibition. Jeff drove the Obsession Monster Truck and Rick was in Eric’s Obsessed truck. What we thought would be a laid back fair exhibition turned out to be more strenuous than expected. During our brunch we received a phone call telling us we needed to show up at the track because Obsession’s tire was leaking air and needed to be attended to before the show. We got to the track and worked in 105 degree (humid) weather and patched the tire 3 times and after the third try we didn’t have enough time to let the patch dry before the show. We were fortunate that Living the Dream Racing let us borrow a tire for the show! Everyone put on an awesome show! We were so grateful to hit the hotel showers when the event was over!!

From Turlock we headed to Salinas California for another John Shipmen’s Motorsports event. The event was held on August 1st and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! The weekend started out on Friday and Saturday displaying the trucks to promote Sunday’s event. Once again it was Jeff and Rick piloting the trucks. This was a standard show format with racing and freestyle. Rick started the show with the fastest qualifying time. Jeff was put up against Bigfoot on the first round of racing. This was a very tough course consisting of a double Chicago style with both left and right turns. Rick in Obsessed and Bigfoot were in the finals. Rick took the victory so he could uphold Eric image! Freestyle was awesome Jeff and Rick both made the local newspapers. I think this was the some of most air that Obsessed has ever flown! It was a fun show and meaningful as the proceeds went to the local Children’s hospital.

This past weekend Rick and Eric went over to Victoria Canada to do an event for Big Toyz Racing for Western Speedway. This was a two day show and exhibition only. This was Eric’s first trip out of the United States. The Canadian were excited to see a 14 year old piloting a Monster truck. He was the talk of the show! Friday night Eric was a natural behind the wheel going over jumps and doing some wicked donuts on the asphalt! When Rick was in his third round he was doubling up a jump and on the second hit he broke the right rear spindle in half. Rick was driving Obsession, so of course he had to blame Jeff for the damage” Obsession must have got weak from the event in Salinas when Jeff drove”. Rick never seems to break the truck on his own!

Rick and Eric got the truck back in running order on Saturday, but due to rain the show was postponed until Sunday afternoon. Sunday Rick and Eric put on another great show and the local papers proved it as they did a special article on Eric. They had a great time but they are very pleased to be back in the good old US of A! We would like to thank Brad Campbell for helping Obsession Racing and transporting our trucks for us. This weekend Jeff and Rick will be in Salt Lake City Utah for Rocky Mountain Raceway’s event on Saturday and Sunday August 13th and 14th.

For more information on Obsession Racing, go to www.ObsessionRacing.com.