First out on the track was Mike Welch in Lucky Logger. Mike goes right at the Mercedes learning real quick that the
Mercedes don’t not want to be crushed. The car kicks Lucky Logger back and
Mike says hmm...Let’s try this again!! Mike definitely crushed it the
second time, however the Mercedes gave the monster trucks a hard time all
night. That Mercedes made me laugh at the slogan, “Built Ford Tough”.
Mike got the show started with some awesome crushing action, making the
Lucky Logger stand up on the cars and walk over them with rear tires.
Very good performance from Mike and the Lucky Logger to start off the
The one thing we did notice
that was concerning was that Mike did not wear a firesuit while driving
the truck at this show. Not looking to make a big deal out of it,
but we are always concerned for all of the drivers' safety, and would hate
to see anything bad happen.
Sam drove Nasty Boy out next, doing three runs of crushing action and
doing the things Sam Sturges does. He can put on a show, that’s for sure,
and the crowd loved his performance. These first runs were actually
a wheelie contest, but it ended up looking more like freestyle.
Kelvin Ramer in Natural High was out next and made
three runs over the cars, finally doing a pretty nice wheelie on the third
run. Mike Welch announced to the crowd, that as soon as the Mercedes
starting looking like the other crushed cars, there would be improved
monster truck action. Kelvin was able to get great air over the cars
and did complete a very good wheelie. Kelvin took Natural High to the end of
the track after its run and you could hear the engine sputter. It turned
out a belt had broken that cools the fuel. Kelvin and his pit man, Mark
Raymond would be working feverishly to get this fixed and continue
entertaining the crowd.
Sam Sturges was back out on the track, this time in Unnamed & Untamed. Sam made a few runs
at the cars, not having much success doing a wheelie--he would go over
the cars getting air, his rear tires would hit the last car, making it
difficult to get Unnamed & Untamed on its rear tires as the front tires
hit the ground.
It is always difficult to choose a winner in a wheelie contest that
features both sky wheelies and slap wheelies. They are two completely different
styles!! First you had Mike Welch standing the
Lucky Logger up on the crushed cars and walking the truck up and over the
set. Second you had Kelvin Ramer in
Natural High who completed a very nice slap wheelie after going across the
crushed cars and down the track. I will leave it up to the Monster Blog fans to
choose their winner on this one!
Freestyle was next with the Lucky Logger out and performing more old-school style
monster truck driving for the fans. Mike Welch stood the
Lucky Logger up for seconds again, then hit the cars hard. Kelvin Ramer had given me a
quick history lesson before the event started about how some consider Mike
Welch to be "The Father of Freestyle". After seeing
the Lucky Logger, I will never forget the performance he displayed this
Sam brought out Nasty Boy and as always put on an awesome air show. This
was just not the night for Sturges Motorsports however, as Nasty Boy broke a tie-rod,
which ended its performance for the night. Sam drove Nasty Boy off the field
dragging the tie-rod, and came right back out driving Unnamed & Untamed!! I have no
idea what is like to entertain a crowd of folks in a monster truck event,
but I do know the pride Sam Sturges takes in putting on a show.
Unnamed and Untamed came out roaring, getting serious air, hitting cars
hard and doing the best donuts no one will ever see--I say this because Sam
went to the end of the field, started a very fast donut, going faster
and faster as desert sand was forming a cloud to thick to see through.
The donut seemed to go forever as you could hear the engine scream, there
was a moment of concern being unable to see, as I saw Peggy and Kelvin
getting ready to run out there in case Unnamed had rolled over. As
the dust finally started clearing and Unnamed & Untamed drove out, all of
breathed a sigh of relief. Sam came out and jumped the cars again,
but more misfortune for the Sturges team as Unnamed & Untamed’s left rear wheel froze up. Sam drove it off the
field literally dragging the left rear wheel. I felt really bad for Sam
having tore up two trucks in the desert sand, however it did not affect
Sam and his attitude for the evening as you will hear later.
Kelvin Ramer was the last out in Natural High. They had gotten the belt
replaced, and were all set to run. Kelvin was able to do what are normally very nice wheelies,
but later in his run, he will out do
himself. Natural High jumped crushed cars and was able to get some
air. Wheelies and air, then more air. The show he was putting on had the
crowd actually roaring with approval and anticipation of what would be
Kelvin started a very slow wheelie across
the field, keeping Natural High rolling on its rear wheels. However he was at a
bad angle, going towards the other end of the track. There was a mound of
dirt about two feet higher than the track going down the outside of the
track for drainage. At the angle Kelvin was going and him looking in the
night sky, there was no way he knew how close he was to this mound of
dirt. Now the very unusual or almost impossible happens! Natural
rear wheels come to rest on top of the mound of dirt, while the truck's wheelie
bar rests on the track--the monster truck is resting perfectly with the
nose pointing towards the night sky and stuck in that position. I
have no idea what the record is or was for the longest time a monster truck
has stood in the wheelie position, but it had to
be broken this night.
Natural High is still standing in a skyward position with the engine off. Fans are
rushing down to the very end of the stands to check it out. The announcer,
"Furby", is down announcing the situation to the fans, and as he points
out there is a fuel leak, security starts getting the fans back. As it
turned out, it was not a fuel leak, just water leaking out. Natural
High has a completely sealed fuel system.
Then I notice a big forklift is moving to the front of Natural High. The
fork lift is being driven by Mike Welch and Sam Sturges is standing on the forks
with a chain in his hands. Mike slowly raises the forks and Sam hooks the
chain to the front frame. While all this is going on, Kelvin Ramer is
still looking skyward. Mike lowers the forks enough for Sam to jump off,
then slowly backs the Fork Lift up bringing Natural High back on all four
wheels and allowing Kelvin to see land again. This was one of the
best displays of teamwork by a group of drivers that I have ever seen.
As Kelvin waved to the crowd, there was no doubt that he had taken home
the freestyle win, despite excellent performances by Sturges and Welch. Going back to the
pits, it looked as if every fan in the stands was in line for autographs.
Wrapping up our coverage of
this event, I want to thank Sam and Kelvin for their continued sharing of
knowledge in this growing sport. Thanks to the Ramers for helping
introduce us to Steve Quercio, and thanks to him for his hospitality at
this event. I also want to apologize to all for taking so long to
finish this article--We've been traveling here and there all summer, it seems,
and we have just recently had some time to sit down and catch up on some
of our back work. So be looking for our Prescott Valley coverage
soon, hope you enjoyed this one. Stop by the Fan Forum and let us
know what you thought!!
- Lauren & Lynette Bonar