The Allen Report: 7th Annual IMTM Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we continue an annual tradition by ending our season in Auburn, Indiana, for the 7th Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion. The ceremony is set inside the prestigious Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum, which also is home to the International Monster Truck Museum & Hall of Fame. Here, legendary monster trucks share the spotlight with hard to find merchandise, trophies and other awards from many years ago. There are even body panels and fire suits on display. With a large number of overall appearing monster trucks, a long list of sponsors and a new attendance record, this was the most successful Hall of Fame Ceremony yet.

This year’s Hall of Fame class consisted of the following personalities:
• Seth Doulton, the person who contributed to bringing corporate sponsorship into the sport and the former promoter of the Monster Truck Madness series, the first promotion company to use “in-house” monster vehicles.
• Jim Ries, the builder and occasional driver of Seth’s monster vehicles.
• Mike Gallaway, one of the sport’s greatest television personalities, both as an in the field reporter and as a booth announcer.
• Jeff Bainter, the owner, builder and driver of the most famous monster Jeep of all time, Hot Stuff. Very recently, Hot Stuff became a ride truck and was on display this year at the Museum for the weekend only.
• Gary Cook, the original owner and builder of 1989 TNT Motorsports National Champion truck Equalizer, which has been on permanent display at the IMTM the past two years.

Other monster trucks that were present at the museum especially for this once-a-year occasion included:
• The current version of fourth Hall of Fame class member Michael Vaters’ Black Stallion.
• A clone of the beautiful Showtime Ford monster, the original owned many years ago by Brian Shell.
• Titan, owned by Fil Tristan out of the quad cities area who was there when the sport was young, his truck having crushed cars with 48 inch tires at one point in time.
• One Bad Hombre, a bright blue monster truck that is only two years old, but is built very much like a traditional old school monster from years gone by.
• Raminator, a truck owned by brothers Tim and Mark Hall which, not long ago, was confirmed by Guinness as the World’s Fastest Monster Truck at 99.1 mph.
• High Roller 2, a rebuilt version of the iconic 48 inch tire monster currently owned by Jeff Krekeler.
• Predator 1, owned by third Hall of Fame class member, Allen Pezo.
• Finally, Taurus Racer, the 1991 USHRA National Champion which has found a new home inside the IMTM. For weeks, the IMTM had been teasing a mystery truck which would be unveiled Friday night and this was it. Original owner and inaugural Hall of Fame class member Jack Wilman Sr. didn’t know that Michael Vaters and his company were recreating the truck and had tears of joy in his eyes as the truck was unveiled to the attendees.

Other past Hall of Famers in attendance were Bob Chandler and Jim Kramer of Bigfoot, Mike Welch of Monster Mash, Jerry Richmond of Terminator, Gene Patterson of Breen Boyz Racing, and many others with at least one member of every single Hall of Fame class. Every so often, Gene would “mysteriously disappear” and original Snake Bite driver Colt Cobra would show up. One of these moments was during the auction on the big night, where Colt took to the stage to sell original Snake Bite concept designs from the early 1990s. In some cases, attendees themselves were notable monster truck industry personalities, such as Charlie “Kid” Rarig, notably of PA Mountain Monster and Thunder Chicken and John Furbee, who often drove Mike Welch’s Monster Mash on the frequent occasion that the iconic Super Pete semi-truck monster and Monster Mash were booked for the same show.

Friday night’s meet and greet started the weekend. There were several tabletop displays of memorabilia, and even a full, modern-day style show with radio control monsters presented by the fine folks at Jconcepts. There were all kinds of old school related activity at the museum and neighboring bingo hall until it was time for all to retire for the night.

The day of the Hall of Fame Ceremony itself got off to a great start with its customary Q&A and history discussion. Mike Gallaway was feeling a bit under the weather and unfortunately that kept him away from the Q&A, but his daughter did a great job filling in. Mike would be fine by evening and was in attendance for the big event. The inductees reminisced about the good old days and was very informative to the younger members of the audience and laughter to all in attendance. During the evening’s catered dinner before the Ceremony began, the spectators were treated to induction videos from past Hall of Famer classes. Finally, the big moment arrived.

Each inductee received a huge ovation from the crowd, both before their “thank you” speeches and after their induction interviews. At the end of the ceremony but before the auction, the silver plaques for each of the newest Hall of Fame class was unveiled before later being taken into the museum itself to join its predecessors. Once more, the night ended by auctioning off all kinds of monster truck related memorabilia. The final several items auctioned quite high, which is great for the museum’s future.

We always attend and enjoy this event every year and sincerely thank former War Wagon driver and IMTM President Jeff Cook for starting this museum and Hall of Fame and we urge as many Monster Truck fans (both old school and modern day) as possible to visit the museum and/or attend the Ceremony at least one time.

Well, that’s the 2017 season for us at “The Allen Report”. We thank each and every promoter who have graciously agreed to having us attend their shows over this past year and making us feel like VIPs. Thanks to all of you, the readers of for coming back again and again to see our photos and read our event reviews we both work so hard on. We hope to see all of you at one of our covered events in 2018, encourage you to “Like” our Facebook page “Monster Truckin” with Jim and Chris”, follow our Instagram page and, of course, cheer on!

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