O'REILLY MONSTER TRUCK RACING
SUPER SERIES IN FT. SMITH, AR!!
OCTOBER 1st, 2005 - HARPER STADIUM @ KAY RODGERS PARK
Welcome to another coverage from THE MONSTER BLOG!! Very excited to bring you our first coverage of a Brad Darnell promoted O'Reilly Monster Truck Racing Super Series event!! This trip almost didn't happen, but for a lucky occurrence. I made a big mistake by not traveling down for the Springdale, AR show that was held a few weeks before this one. Springdale is only about 3 hours and 15 minutes or so, but Ft. Smith was almost 4 1/2 hours!! The reason we didn't hit Springdale was because we had just traveled over 3 hours to I-70 Speedway for their Eve of Destruction the week before, and needed a break!!
The only reason I was able to get down to Ft. Smith was because my Dad, Lauren Z. Bonar, owner of LZ's Sports Source & Collectibles, had to come back to Missouri from Arizona to handle some personal matters, and visit us to see his new grandson again!! As it worked out, he decided to go with me to Ft. Smith and then take off for Arizona from there the next morning. If Dad wouldn't have come along, there was no way I would have went that far and traveled back by myself!!
This all kind of came together at the last minute, so I called Brad Darnell a couple days before the show, and let him know we were coming down. Have you noticed how it seems like all the promoters we've dealt with were named Brad? Pretty funny, actually. Brad is an awesome guy and his whole staff was just great about helping us with everything!! It was just a pleasure to come down to one of his events. I know we'll be back next year, and I really hope he comes up North just a little further for a Missouri show!! On to the coverage!!
THE TRUCK LINEUP
Once we finally got down to Kay Rodgers Park after a long trip down to Ft. Smith from Ft. Leonard Wood, we were able to go back and park with the rest of the folks from the Monster Truck show. We found our way over to Harper Stadium and Brad met us over in the back to show us around. We got a chance to look around as everyone was preparing for the pit party and get some good shots of the tough trucks and Monster Trucks on display.
GOD, GUTS, & GLORY
"Enough Guts to Give God the Glory" is the concept behind the name of the truck. This Monsters on a Mission team is just doing some great things, and God Bless them for the work they do. We had a chance to see Melissa Stathas and God, Guts, & Glory in action at the Springfield 4-Wheel Jamboree earlier this year, but the team battled mechanical problems all weekend and never really got to show their stuff. I was looking forward to seeing what the team could really do tonight!!
"The Lord's Blessing is Our Greatest Wealth" - Amen. We didn't get to see the team truck to God, Guts, & Glory in Springfield, and I must say, I am a big fan!! The body on it is quite unique, its officially called a 2007 Chevy Silverado Concept body. Being a big Chevy fan, I think its awesome!! Nick Dejulio would be at the helm this evening, Nick is the nephew of Joey and Melissa Stathas, and I was looking forward to seeing what he could do!!
The Iron Horse truck was also in attendance, and I was very impressed by the paint job on it. As it turned out the truck would be driven by Billy Chapen tonight, as Ron Stanwood is no longer with Wildfire Motorsports.
The flagship truck of Wildfire Motorsports was also on hand, you guessed it, Wildfire! Kind of an interesting side story as Devin Jones who owns his own Road Rage truck had been hired to drive the truck for this event. According to Devin, his only experience with the truck was driving it from the trailer to the stadium!! Would be interesting to see how they would get along for the event!!
Another driver that we had seen before and that I was VERY excited to find out would be attending the event, Andy Hoffman's Nitemare!! This is without a doubt one of my favorite trucks, and Andy Hoffman is an awesome guy. He put on one heck of a show in Sedalia earlier this year, and I couldn't wait to see what him and his new truck had in store for us tonight!!
SERGEANT SMASH RIDE TRUCK
This has got to be one of the nicest ride trucks out there. The fans were in for a real treat tonight as the Sergeant Smash truck was giving rides before the show and during intermission for the very reasonable price of $5.00. Be sure to check out my Dad's article about the Sergeant Smash team under LZ's Pit Report in the Features section!!
THE TOUGH TRUCKS
One of the neat things about the tough truck lineup for the evening's event was that we had already seen quite a few of the trucks at the Washington, MO event earlier this year! Here are some of the trucks that were in attendance for the event:
This truck is usually driven by none other than Devin Jones, the man behind the wheel of the Wildfire Monster Truck for tonight's show. Since Devin was competing in the MT event, he had a substitute driving this for him, although he would later bring the truck out for a Tough Truck freestyle. Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention and missed out on that!!
I had had some previous contact with Robert and Jennifer Hand, owners of the Bearfoot tough truck through email as they came across the site not long after we started and were asking directions to the Washington, MO event we helped advertise. I got them the directions they needed, but on the way up their tow truck broke down and they were unable to make the show. It was nice to finally get to meet them, and I looked forward to seeing this awesome truck compete!!
This guy was kind of a neat story. As you can see, the truck is pretty banged up. As it turned out, he was down in Oklahoma City the previous week for a Jim Morris show and flipped the truck!! He thrashed on the truck all week to get it ready to come down to Ft. Smith, but effects of the wreck can still be seen, lol!!
Take note of what good shape this truck was in before the show started. The reason I say this, is it definitely wasn't in the same condition after the event was over!
DRACO THE DRAGONATOR
THE MONSTER BLOG would also be getting its first taste of Draco the Dragonator tonight, as Draco would make an appearance to eat a car!! I had seen stuff like this on my old Monster Truck videos, but never in person, so I was really looking forward to this part of the show.
THE PIT PARTY
After we took a look around and talked with some of the tough truck drivers for a while, it was time to find something to eat!! Dad and I were starving as we hadn't eaten anything since that morning. So we headed off to the fair to find a nice big greasy burger and fries. When we returned to the stadium, the Pit Party had just begun and the Monster Truck drivers were by their trucks. Time to go say a few hellos and make a few introductions, and while we were at it, we decided to get some pictures of the drivers with their trucks!
Started by introducing myself to Joey and Melissa Stathas of Monsters on a Mission. They are some great folks, and they were telling me about how they had even organized some FREE shows down in Florida as part of their Monsters on a Mission program. Sounds like a great organization and I only hope that we get to work together some more in the future. Wouldn't you know that I would blur the first shot? lol I guess I was distracted by what a pretty lady Melissa is, had never really seen her up close before!!
Here is a picture of Nick Dejulio with his awesome 2007 Chevy Silverado Concept truck, the Gold Digger!!
Next up was Billy Chapen and the Iron Horse truck!! I really like this picture, the paint job on the truck really stands out!
Well here is the man, Devin Jones! He put on a great show with his Road Rage truck at the Springdale show, and was really looking forward to seeing how he would handle being thrown into a truck he had never seen before for the show!!
And finally, Andy Hoffman and the Nitemare truck. All I can say is that I'm a big fan, and that it was a privilege to get to see Andy run again this year.
Well that's pretty much a wrap from all the pre-race activities, and it was on to Introductions and time to kick off the evening with the Timed Runs competition!!