October 21st-22nd, 2006 - Firebird International Raceway - Chandler, AZ


As most monster truck fans know, especially the ones in the Phoenix area, the annual Firebird events are not to be missed. They are some of the best produced in the country and are fun for everyone to include fans, media, and the drivers. Lynn and I arrived at the Firebird International Raceway around 9:30 am Saturday morning thinking this was plenty early for the 11:30 event. We were very wrong as traffic was already lined up all the way to Interstate 10. The Raceway staff was very organized however, and kept traffic moving at a steady pace, getting fans parked and in the gates on time for the start of the event. Great job Firebird staff!!


Upon our arrival and after registering for our media credentials, we headed over to the monster truck pit area to greet all the teams and wish them the best of luck for the weekend's events. In addition to most of the drivers being out signing auto-graphs, the Boogie Monster ride truck was giving fans the ride of their lives.



Once again, just as at the year's previous Firebird show, the first people we run into are Ron Howell and Labe Abernathy of Brand Connections (www.brand-connections.com).  Lynn and I gave Ron and Labe a hard time the last time we met, but they got the best of us convincing us to wear a Ford hat (even thought we are Chevy folks) all day at that event. This time I was wearing a Monster Blog hat--I had two hats made at a trade show to see how they would look a few weeks prior and gave Sam Sturges the only other one--Anyway, these guys got on me right away wanting to know where their hat was!  Not letting me explain, it was their turn to give me a hard time. lol  All in good humor, these guys are always fun to visit with. Ron and Labe had the Brand new Ford Fusion on display and were giving children and adults a Hot Wheels special packaged Ford Fusion toy NASCAR replica. Very awesome and the attention these guys attract must be great advertising for Ford.


Lynn and I did not have much time to say hello to all the drivers and get seated for the first event, but we did accomplish the mission. As most of you know by now and I am sure the drivers are well aware, Lynn and I like to get something auto-graphed at each event. I am sure some of the drivers are getting sick of it, but I do it for a few reasons, for my grandson and some day it will be great stuff for historical reasons. After having Nathan Weenk, driver of Jurassic Attack sign a couple items the previous weekend in Tuba City, I asked Nathan to sign a Firebird Poster for me--He said, “I carry a special Sharpie just for you Lauren”. lol  I started laughing and promised to get him a new one. Next time I see you Nathan, a promise is a promise!

There are four monster truck shows this weekend, times are 11:30 AM Saturday & Sunday and 2:30 PM Saturday & Sunday. The shows are all freestyle, to include some brief freestyle moves during introductions. The setup is huge, with cars to crush, a huge tire pit, a mini FMX hill and huge tires chained together for a wheelie set up. There is a huge pit behind the track with a very large mud bog and a track for tough trucks. For those who dare to attempt it, coming back up from the dirt track towards the front, there is a huge stack of boulders. Not rocks, but boulders! This is the largest freestyle area I have ever witnessed and the drivers are free to use any portion of it.

The next surprise for me came when I was seated and the announcer took the microphone. He introduced his self as Mark Wright and was doing a great job getting everything going when he introduced his co-announcer who was wearing a Bigfoot shirt came on the stage. Yes, much to the crowds delight, it was Madusa!  Madusa would not be driving in this event, but she did a great job with Mark, keeping the crowd entertained throughout the weekend.  Another thing Madusa fans might like to hear, she has a great throwing arm as she proved throwing T-shirts to the crowd. Mark and Madusa made a very good team, keeping the crowd informed and entertained.

The National Anthem was sung by an up & coming country singer out of Clarksburg, WV. His name is Glen Shaffer and his first CD was titled Salvation Man. Glen did a great job Saturday, and on Sunday performed the National Anthem in a way I had never heard, an instrumental with his guitar. It turned out very well as the crowd also understood how hard this really is and gave him a good round of applause. Glen is pictured below and you can find out more about him at his website www.glenshaffer.com. Glen stated that he thought Jimmy Creten put his heart & soul into Monster Trucks and that Jimmy & Dawn Creten were the inspiration in a new Monster Truck Anthem called “No Fear” that can be downloaded off the above site, beginning next month.

Let's take a moment to check out our truck and driver lineup for the weekend's events, using pictures from Introductions at the 11:30AM Saturday show.


























All drivers and vehicles came out on the track to big applause, faced the crowd and drivers waved as introduced. I say this because the next three introductions would be a bit different, as you'll soon see. Once Introductions concluded, it was time for the first Freestyle competition of the weekend. Check out the photos of all the action below!!





































































All of the drivers put on excellent performances, but it was Dan Runte in Summit Bigfoot and Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter receiving perfect scores for a tie for the win. Don Frankish should get an honorable mention, and in my opinion deserved at least a three-way tie. His performance led my wife to say, “Don is out of control”!!  An unusual remark from her that made me laugh. Linsey Weenk had some tough luck, as on his first jump over the huge tire pit, his front tires landed directly on the concrete barrier, causing one to pop. Bad luck for Linsey in Iron Outlaw, but he would be back for the next show.


Head on over to the 2nd page of this coverage to see all the action from the Saturday 2:30PM show!!



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