MONSTER TRUCK JAMMIN' NATIONALS

FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - CHANDLER, AZ - 04/28-29/07

By Lauren & Lynette Bonar

 

Firebird International Raceway is quickly becoming known for putting on some of the best shows the industry has to offer. When they announced this year's show, we marked it on the calendar right away. Firebird is always known for assembling jaw-dropping lineups for their monster truck shows, and this spring they took that to a new level with the teams brought in for the show. It's unusual for me to start of a coverage by looking right at the lineup, but that was the big story of the weekend, so here it is:
 

THE TRUCK LINEUP

 

AVENGER - JIM KOHLER

 

 

BIGFOOT - DAVE HARKEY

 

 

BOUNTY HUNTER - JIMMY CRETEN

 

 

BRUTUS - CHRIS BERGERON

 

 

EL MATADOR - DARON BASL

 

 

HOT WHEELS - CHUCK WARNER

 

 

IRON OUTLAW - LINSEY WEENK

 

 

KING KRUNCH - DAVID SMITH

 

 

MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION - TOM MEENTS

 

 

NASTY BOY - RONNIE STURGES

 

 

SUMMIT BIGFOOT - DAN RUNTE

 

 

UNNAMED & UNTAMED - SAM STURGES

 


Only a few times a year do fans get treated to such a lineup of heavy hitters. This year's show would also feature a new format. The Saturday evening event would feature an All-Out Freestyle competition, with all twelve trucks competing in the first round, and the top six going on to the finals. Sunday afternoon's event would feature a Donut Competition, a Wheelie Contest, and a few select monster trucks would freestyle to end the show as well.

Walking around during the day prior to the show, I was shocked when a gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was Ross?  I told him I was Ross’s father; he then introduced himself as Dan Sanchez “Vice President Editorial” of TEN Trucks Magazine. As most of the Monster Blog readers know, Ross works with TEN Trucks Magazine doing some coverage for them. It was really nice to finally meet Dan, be sure to check out The Enthusiast Network at www.truckworld.com.

It is always a pleasure getting to see Jim Koehler perform in his '57 Chevy Avenger, but this time was especially nice, as their team normally does not get to the southwest except for the World Finals. Steve Kohler, Jim’s younger brother, is a really good friend of the site, and I was able to speak with and get to know Steve much better this weekend as we spent a good deal of time in the same area taking pictures. Steve was telling me how it took them 33 hours to get to Phoenix from their hometown in Michigan!

It was also very nice to get to see and visit with a good friend of the Monster Blog, Andrew Palochko. Andrew has been very busy these days and flew in from Chicago to work with Tom Meents and Chuck Warner.

As always at a monster truck event at Firebird International Raceway, there are many vendors, a huge truck show and everything from jet dragsters to motorcross racers and this weekend was no different. Below are some pictures of the show trucks and a few of the other competitions that were going on throughout the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking down the midway checking out the vendors, we met Staff Sergeant Stephen B. Ruppe owith the United States Army Recruiting Station. SSGT Ruppe can be reached at Stephen.Ruppe@usarec.army.mil for anyone who wants to know what the Army has to offer. As always the Monster Blog want to express their appreciation to all the men and women of all the United States Armed Forces.
 

 


With twelve big name monster trucks and their star drivers, you know there was a huge pit party before the show. When fans arrived to get autographs, they had no clue which line to get in--there were so many big names!!  Everyone was smiling and laughing, visiting and telling stories, but then the sandstorm hit. The wind and cloud cover sure cooled things off Saturday, but it was pretty brutal for awhile. Through it all, most drivers kept right on autographing. Below is a picture of Firebird Raceway's Anna Hackett (the wonderful lady behind the monster truck events) and Sam Sturges during the Pit Party and another of David Smith and Daron Basl showing off their Awesome Racewear Crew Shirts. Also some pictures of the Pit Party during the sandstorm, and some other random pre-show photos.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We also ran into some other good friends before the show started Saturday evening: Rod and Karen Wood (McGruff monster truck) walked up to say hello. It seems as though they were on the other side of the track and spotted Lynn and I in our Monster Blog crew shirts and walked all the way around to say hello. Lynn and Karen had a chance to visit while I introduced Rod to Steve Koehler and Dan Sanchez. This just goes to show what an awesome lineup this event really was, it even attracted other monster truck drivers to check out the happenings.

Lynn and I also have to thank Nancy Scafide with PROEM-SECURITY, she really helped out the media crew by letting the ushers know where we could and where we could not be. Had to be one of the best Security people we have ever run across. Thank you, Nancy!!
 

INTRODUCTIONS

 

Before the show, all of the trucks came rolling out down either side of the track for introductions. Here are a few photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL-OUT FREESTYLE - ROUND ONE

 

Each truck would make their freestyle run and then receive a score from a group of fan judges in the crowd. Unfortunately from where we were at, we could not make out the freestyle scores. The first round saw some incredible moments, and some big surprises when the results were tallied and it was decided who would be moving on. Despite great runs, former freestyle champs Jim Kohler and Jimmy Creten would both be on the sidelines for the main event.
 

Daron Basl and Ronnie Sturges made the finals based on decent runs, while Dave Harkey and Chris Bergeron made it based on great runs. Tom Meents put on a show stopping performance, ending his first run with a broken shock mount and a flat tire. The team put forth a great effort and Tom would make it back for the finals. The real story of the first round however, was Sam Sturges driving his Unnamed & Untamed truck. Sam went up and over the car stack, and tried to go into a wheelie, but the truck spun on one tire on the slick pavement and performed a wild 360 on the tailgate of the truck before coming to rest back on all fours. The move was almost ballet-like and is sure to go down as one of the best monster truck moves of all-time.

 

Check out the photos from the first round below and on the next page and then we will move on to the finals. Also don't forget to check out Lynn's video if you haven't already, because there are some great performances you've got to see!!
 

BIGFOOT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOT WHEELS

 

 

 

 

EL MATADOR

 

 

 

 

IRON OUTLAW

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASTY BOY

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to head on over to the next page to see more of the action from Round One of All-Out Freestyle!!
 

Page 1  /  Page 2  /  Page 3
 

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