My wife Lynette and I began our trip Laughlin, NV on Friday afternoon.  We wanted to get to Laughlin with enough time to relax and enjoy ourselves some before Saturday night's show.  Upon arrival, we checked in to our hotel and took a walk along the Colorado River downtown by all the casinos.  For those that have never been, some call Laughlin the "little Las Vegas".  There are many casinos you can find in Vegas like the Golden Nugget, the Flamingo, Harrah’s and quite a few more to include some that are exclusive to Laughlin.  Lynn and I are not professional gamblers, but we do enjoy playing the penny machines.  We never win but, I guess we feel we make a contribution to their electric bill!!

We woke up the next morning and started getting ready for the day, and had breakfast at the River Palms.  This is a nice thing about staying in Casino Towns--the buffets are always really cheap.  After breakfast we contacted Kelvin and Janette Ramer of the Natural High monster truck.  They gave us directions to the event site as well as let the promoter know we were coming.
















This was the first time we were able to visit with Kelvin Ramer without him being pulled off on the side of the highway!!  (See the Chance Encounter With a Natural High article)  Lynn and I arrived early enough for Janette and Lynette to visit and get to know each other and also gave Kelvin and I a chance to talk monsters.  Kelvin explained a lot about monster trucks that I didn't know.  Kelvin also taught me about the type of adjustments he would make based on the track setup at a particular events--tire air pressure and shock adjustments for example.

After talking with Kelvin, I went over to visit with Sam Sturges.  I have seen Sam at several events, but this was the first time we really had a chance to visit.  In my opinion, Sam is the man!  He puts on a great show and is a great person.  He has mentored many a driver, to include his nephew Ronnie Sturges and family friend Gary Schott Jr.  At this event I learned that not only is Kelvin Ramer a friend of Sam Sturges, but that Sam had mentored him as well.  Kelvin thought so much of Sam as a mentor and friend that Sam’s name is painted on the back of Natural High’s tailgate--or at least where the tailgate would be.

I learned that Sam would be doing double duty tonight.  Sam and Peggy had brought both trucks, Nasty Boy and Unnamed & Untamed, however neither Ronnie nor Gary were able to make it this weekend.  I asked Sam who was going to drive the other truck and he said “either me or you”!!  We both laughed at that, however if he just knew, I would have drove it in a heart beat!!

After visiting with Sam and Peggy, Kelvin introduced us to Mike Welch and his crew member "Furby". I later learned that Mike and Furby were also doing double duty tonight--as driver and pit crew member and also as the announcers for the show this evening.  Both did a great job at both of their duties.



It was a great surprise getting to see Mike Welch at this event, because most of his shows are up in the Northwest United States.  While we may not know as much about monster truck history as some, we recognized the name from watching the old monster truck videos on TV as one of the early monster truck drivers.  Tonight he would be driving a smaller truck called Lucky Logger.


The event included a Pit Party where the fans could get up close to the trucks and meet the drivers in person, getting an autograph or two along the way.




Before I get to the Monster Trucks, there were a couple of filler events as well.  One was called a car meltdown.  This event featured the Zaccaro racing team.  Their jet engine, jet fueled car was back upped to a junked car.  Then the burners turned on turning junk metal into flaming junk metal.  When those burners hit that car, the heat was so intense you could feel it in the stands and see the junk car instantly light up.  The name of the jet car was Thunderbolt, driven by Joe Zaccaro, part owner along with Tony Franco.  If you ever have a need to melt down your car, you can reach these gentlemen at tfrancotrk@aol.com.




FMX bikers were present also, however they were at the other side of the track and we did not get to speak with them or get their names. I did here Fitzpatrick’s name, Lynn and I had met him a couple times at WGAS events.  There was also a buggy racing event that took place during the show.



Introductions were up first, and out on the track came Mike Welch in the Lucky Logger.  Lucky Logger is an old school Monster Truck made for one thing, crushing cars!!  Mike hopped out of the truck, and grabbed the microphone to introduce the other drivers as they came out.



Peggy Sturges drove out Nasty Boy for Sam, as he drove out Unnamed & Untamed.  Mike Welch was trying to get her to drive it, as was I earlier, but Mike went ahead and introduced Sam as driving both.  Come on Peggy--drive the truck!!


Up next was Kelvin Ramer in Natural High, who was introduced by Mike as one of the newest monster truck drivers on the circuit, whose truck was made for wheelies, and that the crowd could expect an awesome performance from Natural High.

Steve Quercio had set up the track and he had a line of four cars with the first car being a Mercedes, and we would learn right off the bat how tough a Mercedes is to crush.  At the very front there was a van set that would be a good obstacle for the trucks to tackle.  That pretty well sets up the stage for the evening's event.



Click below to head to the next page, where we take a look at some monster truck freestyle action!!