Higher Education Monster Bus Too Cool for School

(Vaters Monster Motorsports PR – Hagerstown, Maryland) – Michael Vaters’ “Higher Education”, the incredible new monster school bus has been a project 5 years in the making. A long time veteran in the monster truck industry with over 29 years in the business, Vaters debuted the permanent identity of the third monster truck in his stable in Montreal at the Olympic Stadium event in April. Vaters purchased the Killer Bee monster truck last year and ran the Killer Bee body for a couple of shows before fitting the truck with a Black Stallion body for first quarter 2011 in the Monster Jam series. The truck is driven by long time crew member and family friend Jimmy Tracey.

The wild new Higher Education monster school bus launches a bus stack during its debut freestyle at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

Vaters has always had a great respect for, and been a big fan of Ken Nelson and his wheel-standing dragster, the Cool Bus. Ken at age 72 races the Cool Bus down 1/4 mile drag strips at over 100 miles per hour and has been for 15 years. Cool Bus was designed and built by Ken and his wife and they travel all over the United States, Canada and Mexico every summer exhibiting at drag strips. Five years ago Mike shared his idea with Ken to build a school bus monster truck and they both thought it would be a good idea and definitely popular with the kids. When the Killer Bee truck became available, Mike found his opening to make the monster truck bus idea happen. After leaving the Dayton, Ohio Monster Jam event, Vaters traveled to Ken’s hometown of Ashland, Ohio and picked up the nose of the Cool Bus to make a mold from as a starting point for the rest of the bus body.

Ken Nelson's wheel-standing dragster, the "Cool Bus" was the inspiration for Vaters' Higher Education.

Vaters has been designing and engineering the truck for some time so when they started the build he had very specific ideas and plans. Because of this and many man hours in the shop by the Vaters Monster Motorsports team, it was completed in a mere 13 days. Higher Education is built in 3/4 scale. When designing the bus, Vaters knew that they would have to build the body stronger to withstand the abuse that a monster truck goes through. The team built two fiberglass sections to make up the roof and a fiberglass front clip. The sides of the bus are built from fiberboard donated by Capitol Building Supply in Hagerstown, Maryland, one of Black Stallion’s sponsors. The paint (school bus yellow) was provided by PPG, another of our generous sponsors and painted by the VMM crew in-house. Vaters wanted the bus to have all the details to make it look as realistic as possible, so he even fabricated black rub rails to run down the sides of the bus and installed flashing lights and a flip out STOP sign.

A couple of build photos show the former Killer Bee chassis being converted to fit the newly constructed school bus body.

Higher Education debuted April 9th in Montreal at Olympic Stadium. During the pit party the bus was hidden from the spectators and not brought out until after the wheelie competition. The house lights of the Stadium were dimmed as Higher Education driven by Jimmy Tracey roared out onto the track, lights flashing to the music of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In the Wall.”

School is officially out for summer - look for the Higher Education monster school bus at a monster truck event near you!

The crowd went crazy on their feet cheering…the monster bus Higher Education went over real big!  The truck is the fruition of a concept idea that will undoubtedly have a huge following, especially with the kids. What could be more awesome for a kid than to see a school bus like they ride in every day getting big air, causing destruction and crushing cars, buses, RVs and everything else in its path. Michael and Denise Vaters want to send out a very special thanks to Ken and his wife for their help and cooperation in making this project happen.

For more information on the Higher Education monster truck and the entire Vaters Monster Motorsports team, visit them online at www.VatersMotorsports.com.

(Article Courtesy Vaters Monster Motorsports, Photos By Stephanie Cotnoir, Johany Jutras, Denise Vaters)

Speak Your Mind