By Lauren Z. Bonar


In early April I got a call from Ross telling me that he had just heard about a pretty big show that would be going in Mexicali Mexico on "Cinco de Mayo". The show was being called the Monster Trucks Showdown and was being held at a big baseball stadium in Mexico with ten trucks to compete. I had told Ross previously that I wanted to attend a show in Mexico at some point and this seemed like it would be a good opportunity, but the only problem was it was coming up so quickly. When I found out my good buddy Sam Sturges was doing this show, things fell into place fairly quickly from there as we had once discussed me helping him out on a trip to Mexico as something I would be interested in doing. Sam was great about the whole thing, and welcomed me with open arms to come along on the trip.


The journey started out with me driving to down to Tucson and staying the night with Sam & Peggy Sturges in preparation to head out the next day for Mexico. Even better for me, it turned out that Peggy is a very good cook!  Sam woke me up at 4:30 AM the next morning and we were on our way to Mexicali!

Ronnie Sturges and Gary Schott Jr., who would be crewing for the weekend, had left the previous evening with Unnamed & Untamed and Nasty Boy. Reason being was the tires have less chance of blowing out during the coolness of the evening on the huge camper and trailer. Looking at I-10 going to Mexicali the next day, you sure can see the damage the heat does to semi-truck tires in the desert as rubber is laying all over the road. While Sam and I were on the road, Sam received a call from Ronnie saying they went through some very heavy winds and that when he woke up, looked over the MTís, that he had noticed the drivers side fender had been blown right off Unnamed & Untamed. Sam relayed this to me and we looked for the fender the rest of the way, unfortunately to no avail.

Meeting at a Wal-Mart on the American side of the border, I saw some familiar faces and meet some new people. Our good friend James Tigue with Shafer Motorsports had already gotten two big rigs across the border, but still had one hauler to go. Rick Swanson, along with his good friend Jeff Jones, pulled in with Obsession, and we also saw Kelvin Ramer and his crew guy Justin Cluster. Pulling up next was Frank Schettini with the Big Dummy. So all the west coast drivers, crew & trucks were there along with one more big rig belonging to the Shafer stable. Omar Salman, one of the promoters and our guide across the border had everything setup, and after the paperwork was finished, we were on our way across the border.



Omar and his brothers Gerardo and David were the perfect hosts, not to mention awesome promoters. Omar was in charge of the logistics as far as taking care of the drivers and crew. Gerardo was in charge of the show and David was in charge of security. Together they make up Pro3 Entertainment.


We had a very nice hotel in Mexicali with Omar showing up in the mornings taking everyone to breakfast. During the day with Burger King being one of the event sponsors, bag lunches of chicken sandwiches, whoppers, and fries were delivered to drivers and crew members in the pits. This event was probably the best I have ever seen teams treated by a promoter.

Friday night's activities would feature a huge twelve mile parade winding through the city featuring all the trucks being wide-loaded, and the parade led by some of the ATV riders. All of the event sponsors were represented including Tecate, Monster Energy Drinks, and Burger King being the largest, but there were plenty more. One gentleman I met who was very nice was Carlos Martinez of Laughlin 2007, who was on hand as a sponsor.  He is the editor and owner of Laughlin 2007 Magazine about trucks and baja vehicles. During this twelve mile parade, sponsors had some very nice looking models on hand waving to the crowd. Even with the drivers and monster trucks on display, I believe it was the young ladies that received the most attention--Sorry guys, but thatís being honest!!  lol










The parade ended at a small mall, where the drivers were seated at a long table for an autograph session. Many fans showed up to get driver's autographs, and the whole night ended up being great promotion for the event and for all of the sponsors. That evening after the autograph session, we were all taken to the mall's sports bar to watch monster truck videos and because Burger King was on the other side of the mall, we were blessed with another box of Whoppers and Chicken Sandwiches while some enjoyed a drink and others had just a soft drink. It was a very good networking session for me as I was able to get to know everyone better.


Saturday was game day. Everyone got some breakfast and headed to the pits to give the monster trucks a final check. Frankenstein was still being worked on, along with a couple others. Rich Inman was getting some good advice from Sam Sturges on the steering problem that had cropped up, but more problems would come for Rich & Frankenstein during the show. The drivers that had their trucks ready to go were able to head out and look over the lay of the track.


Lee Collins with WHR Motorsports had partnered to help put on the event, and he is known for building some of the best tracks in the industry. The Salman brothers were depending on Lee's help as this was their first monster truck show, while Lee has been doing this since the early days. Lee was definitely the man they needed as his setup was outstanding.


Before I get to the event itself, I have to say this: I have not been around or gotten to know a group of guys so fast since my Army days. I had more fun and laughed more than I have in years on this trip--Hear that Frank??  It was an experience filled with memories that will last forever. I want to say thanks to everyone because we sure had a great time!

Let's take a look at the monster truck lineup for the Monster Trucks Showdown!!
































This event was one of the larger independently promoted shows of the year. There are just not too many 10-truck lineups out there outside of the LiveNation promoted shows unfortunately, so it sure was nice to see some different trucks have the chance to compete in front of tens of thousands of people. It's not too often famous names like Bearfoot and Carolina Crusher are in front of that many people anymore, and it was awesome to have Sam and Ronnie get to perform on such a large stage as well.




The Pit Party was held a few hours before the show as all the trucks were parked on display out on the field. The drivers were seated at a long table so that the fans could walk down the line and get all of their favorite driver's autographs. The event sponsors were also very well represented at the Pit Party. See below for photos of the Pit Party and some other random pre-show photos:













It was finally show time, and with over 25,000 fans packed into Estadio Nido de las Aguilas, it was time for some monster truck action!!  In the opening of the stadium in the outfield, pyrotechnics were set off as trucks entered the stadium and the announcer introduced them to the crowd. Here are some photos of intros and of the large crowd on hand:









Each truck would would go one-by-one to start off the show in qualifying to set the brackets for racing. Unfortunately as the announcing was done in Spanish, I did not catch who ended up being the fast qualifier. The racing course Lee had setup was very tricky, with a straight drag over a one-car roller and then a set of cars, into a tight u-turn, drag over a tabletop and two dirt rollers, another tight u-turn and back over the original set of cars as the finish line. There were some pretty choppy runs during qualifying as drivers felt out the course, driving on a rather complex racing course, not many of which are seen in monster truck racing these days.









Click below to head on over to the next page of our Mexicali coverage where you can read all about the racing competition!!

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