The Allen Report: WGAS Motorsports Season Finale – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our third and final trip this year to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, California. This show was the season finale for our friends at WGAS Motorsports with five high flying, dirt slinging and crowd pleasing monster trucks ready to square off in two rounds of freestyle. A maximum of 100 points per round would be on the line with the highest combined score between the two rounds taking the Overall Championship.

The “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo brought all three of his trucks to the fairgrounds. Tony himself took the wheel of Playin’ for Keeps. Local driver Jeff Souza once more got into the seat of Enforcer. Finally, David Tucker climbed back into the Survivor machine. Defending spring event champion Bounty Hunter returned and driver Jimmy Creten was ready to defend his title. Finally, teammate and wife Dawn Creten arrived in her trusty Scarlet Bandit, ready to take the boys head on.

Mini monsters were in the house as well, one of which was Skull Krusher driven by Shane Plato. Rounding out the field was Corbin Shockey in the bright yellow Monster Buddy. In addition, fans attending the event witnessed the first ever performance in California of the Wolfpack Mega Truck Team featuring drivers Glenn Miller, Bob Miller and Greg Queener . These machines are true to the bone monster trucks with the exception of smaller tires. However the drivers push these vehicles just as hard as their life size monster driving counterparts.

This event was a family affair for the Souza’s as Jeff’s son Hunter took to the controls of his Wrecking Machine mini monster for the final time as Jeff and Hunter have big possible future plans. Finally, Jeff’s daughter Cheyenne drove the side by side, or Razor, in an exhibition only run over the tuff truck course. This pumped up the large crowd for tuff truck racing which is a longstanding tradition at this venue.

First out of the gate was Dawn Creten. She got big air several times and turned in some great donuts to take an early lead with a score of 75. Two runs later, Enforcer took to the track. In his run he reached for the sky and hit the obstacles the wrong way to take the Overall title points lead with a score of 90. The first round of freestyle was wrapped up by a bumper dragging wheelie, dirt throwing cyclones and consistent huge air by Bounty Hunter to secure the points lead.

As the final round progressed, all drivers threw caution to the wind. Scarlet Bandit had an excellent run highlighted by big air and capped off by Dawn Creten’s customary wave while leaning out the window. Jeff Souza performed an incredible save right in front of the main grandstand to evoke a huge crowd response. Tony Canedo brought Playin’ for Keeps back out and didn’t let a deflated tire and broken sway bar stop him from thrilling the crowd. But the only former World Champion on the roster delivered a storming run, nailing a virtually perfect score and took the Overall Championship.

Then it was time for the grand finale. The four surviving life size monsters, one omega truck and one mini monster all performed donuts at the same time in front of a roaring crowd to end another season for WGAS Motorsports.

Throughout the night, fans were treated to exciting tuff truck racing as well as quad war action with Team Turlock defeating rival team Phoenix in the main event. Also, the crowd was treated to a burnout contest, which proved a hit with fans. Jake Blackwell and Kaylee Muntz provided fans with spectacular Monster Truck rides in the Extinguisher and Zombie Tracker ride trucks respectively.

Well, that completes our first full season with WGAS Motorsports. Next, we head back to one of our hometown venues for the first of two weekends at the Arizona State Fairgrounds thanks to Bryan Wagner and the All Star Productions. We want to give a gracious thank you to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler and all of the members of WGAS Motorsports for their excellent hospitality and having us every chance possible. We want to thank you, our readers, for taking the time to read our coverage, enjoy the photos, please check us out and follow us on Facebook and Instagram under “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris” and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Stanislaus County Fair Monster Trucks – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a familiar trek in a new time of the year. We have covered excellent monster truck action from the FoodMaxx Arena at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in the town of Turlock, California, several times before, but this was our first time doing so during the fair itself. Six ground pounding, crowd pleasing competitive monster trucks and one mini monster came from across the state to compete in the all-or-nothing freestyle competition over the closing days of the fair.

Vacaville, California’s Tony Canedo had all three of his monster trucks ready to storm the track. The team owner nicknamed “The Flying Spaniard” took the helm of Play ‘N for Keeps. Local driver Jeff Souza got back in the saddle of the Enforcer truck. Jeff’s son Hunter was also back in his faithful Wrecking Machine mini monster. Both father and son were eager to put their respective rollovers from this arena a few months ago in the rearview mirror. David Tucker once again tightened the belts of the third member of the team, Survivor.

Kelvin Ramer had both trucks on standby, but normal Wild Flower driver and 2017 World Finals Freestyle Championship Top 10 finisher Rosalee Ramer was busy with an engineering internship in Michigan. Luckily, a young lady named Molly Bertchie-Berkowitz gladly stepped up to drive the truck into the arena for introductions before giving the seat to Kelvin for the show itself. WGAS Motorsports officials put the runs of Time Flys and Wild Flower at opposite ends of the freestyle order both nights to allow Kelvin plenty of time to change seats.

The field was wrapped up by young newcomer Jonathan Elkins behind the wheel of Terminator, with Gary Schott Sr. retaining ownership. Both nights saw a massive crowd file in to fill the arena, setting the stage for wide open, hard charging motorsports action.

David Tucker took Survivor over the tuff truck jumps as his signature move, got big air and churned some high speed donuts to take the early freestyle lead with a score of 70 out of a possible 100. Play ‘N for Keeps had a great run going and was well in the running for the top spot before a planetary gear locked up, ending his run early. Jeff Souza stood on the loud pedal, getting great air multiple times and pulled out a nice slap wheelie after hitting the step up car stack. His admirable effort garnered him an 85 point score and the lead from the professional judges with only a few runs left to go. All the monsters that came after tried their hardest to upstage the police themed monster, but when all was said and done, Enforcer was still at the highest point on the board, taking the Freestyle Championship, triggering a great deal of loud positive response from the crowd.

As the final show of the weekend progressed, all the monster truck drivers pushed their machines to the limit to please the fans. Jonathan Elkins only furthered his progress as a monster driver with good air and an all around nice run. His run was good enough to garner a score of 50 from the professional judges. Next up was Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys. The recently crowned Monster Jam Stadium Wheelie of the Year award winner put down huge air, great combinations and high speed to become the new leader with a score of 75. None of the following monsters could top him and Kelvin Ramer and Time Flys took the second and final Freestyle Championship.

But the competition monsters weren’t alone in this weekend’s motorized mayhem. Hunter Souza struggled all weekend with an assortment of mechanical problems, but still managed to please the fans. And there was another Souza family member in the house as Cheyenne Souza, Jeff’s daughter and Hunter’s sister drove a UTV around the tuff truck course as a solo exhibition. The tuff trucks themselves were entertaining in their own right, with body panels coming off in some cases and many vehicles taking their suspension to the limit with high jumps and hard landings. Additional activities at the show this week were ten professional bull riders and medieval knights giving the spectators jousting and sword fighting exhibitions.

With that show in the books, we at “The Allen Report” direct our focus towards one of our favorite weekends every year, the Maverik Clash of the Titans Figure-8 race at Rocky Mountain Raceways just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. Double Trouble’s Tyler Groth and Bounty Hunter’s Jimmy Creten enter the event as the reigning champions, but the return of big names like Bigfoot and the slithery Snake Bite will give the champs from a year ago a serious run for their money. Well, a grateful “Thank You” to WGAS Founder John Borba and his daughter and company CEO Chelsea Kessler for their wonderful hospitality, remember to check us out on Facebook under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris”, thanks for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to the peaceful town of Turlock, CA. It’s a quiet place where most thrills are supplied by the sports teams of nearby big cities. But on the second weekend of May, the thrill seeking crowd was inside the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds ready to experience some thunderous, high flying, high speed monster truck action. Eight competitive monster trucks and one mini monster arrived to do battle in hot and heavy freestyle competition.

Second generation driver Hunter Souza brushed the off season dust off and took the wheel of the Wrecking Machine mini monster. International Monster Truck Hall of Fame member Terry Woodcock was in the house inside the cockpit of the 35th Anniversary Cyclops. All three of the “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo’s monsters came to town. Tony himself, as always, drove the new trophy truck bodied Play ‘n For Keeps. David Tucker was the pilot of the Survivor machine and was ready to make thunder around the arena and Jeff Souza, Hunter’s father, was ready to rumble as the driver of Enforcer. Eric Swanson and his beautiful 1968 Ford F-100 bodied Obsessed were locked and loaded. Father Rick Swanson would settle for nothing less than the win in his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored Obsession. Dawn Creten was ready to give the boys a run for their money in Scarlet Bandit. Finally, 2005 World Freestyle Champion Jim Creten had his eyes on first place with American Sniper Bounty Hunter in tow.

With two tabletop jumps, a big hill and a construction barrier for wheelies all on the track, it was going to take a great deal of effort to walk away with the trophy and celebratory champagne. Then, to top things off, a near capacity crowd filed in for both shows and all signs pointed to great monster truck action for all.

On Friday night, Scarlet Bandit set the pace with a good run featuring big air, hitting the arena entry construction barrier the wrong way and nice combos to score 75 points with perfection being 100. Next in line was Survivor, who had terrific cyclones and more big air, but just missed the lead by five points at a score of 70. Terry Woodcock and Cyclops had steering issues and did not make it out of the pits. Wrapping up the first half of the field was Enforcer. Jeff Souza delivered the biggest air so far, lightning fast cyclones and even cross threads to raise the bar to new heights with a score of 95.

Truck after truck came after the police themed monster vehicle, only to fall short. Then, Bounty Hunter came storming in with dirt digging slap wheelies, hitting the big hill the wrong way and massive air over the tabletop. When the judges score was handed down, Bounty Hunter and Enforcer found themselves tied for the win. The real winners, however, were the fans. And as the co-champions got into a champagne spraying battle, the spectators continued to cheer.

The final show of the weekend on Saturday evening saw freestyle once more a heated affair, with all drivers looking to better themselves from the day before. Former World Finals Freestyle runner-up Dawn Creten and Scarlet Bandit did just that, with great donuts, big air and hitting obstacles the wrong way upped her score to 80, five whole points better than the night before.

Terry Woodcock had worked much of Friday night and most of Saturday to fix broken steering in the hopes he could give a significantly better show the second night. It worked and the monster with a legendary name got great air and brought the front tires up in an almost perfectly vertical wheelstand right as time expired to temporarily take the lead by one single point at 81.

A potent combination of huge air, high speed, hitting obstacles sideways and then a nasty crash put Enforcer in a familiar place, the top of the leader board with a score of 95. In spite of the severity of the crash, Jeff Souza was unhurt. But Bounty Hunter was not to share the trophy a second time. Incredible speed, fantastic combos, vertical slap wheelies and dizzying cyclones had the crowd roaring and the judges were impressed. With a perfect score of 100 Jim Creten and Bounty Hunter took the freestyle trophy.

In other racing action, a new addition arrived thanks to WGAS Motorsports in Quad Wars ATV competition. It was Turlock riders against a rival CA team. Even controversial mid-race actions by the evil team couldn’t stop the hometown heroes from taking the main event wins both nights. Also in the arena was vehicle against clock tuff truck racing. The second night, the opening two vehicles in the street legal class got big air multiple times, culminating in much damage and loud cheers from the massive crowd. Finally, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, commander of the Fitz army and Cal Valone wowed the crowd with death defying, incredible tricks, climaxing in the fan favorite backflip train. The riders were hesitant to perform due to the gusty wind conditions, but when show-time arrived, both riders stepped up and made the best of the sketchy conditions.

All that said, we at “The Allen Report” are going to take a rest from monsters for a while. But we will return soon from one of our favorite shows every year, the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. We are excited to give you Monster Truck loving fans more coverage from that venue. Well, thanks very much for reading, a huge “Thank-You” to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler, Greg Atherton and each member of the WGAS Motorsports crew for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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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!

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