4 WHEEL JAMBOREE DAY 1
APRIL 30, 2005 - OZARK EMPIRE FAIRGROUNDS
Welcome to another MONSTER BLOG coverage, finally coming to you from Springfield, MO!! I must admit when my wife and I attended this event, the idea that I would one day have my own website dedicated to the world of Monster Trucks would have seemed pretty out there. The reason I tell you this is because we have set a pretty high standard for our coverage of these shows lately and I don't want anyone to be disappointed with this one being a little bit lighter than the more recent ones. Also remember that I am writing this from memory from about 6 months ago, lol. Having said that, let's get on with the coverage!!
After having experienced a re-introduction to the Monster Trucks at the St. Louis Monster Jam back in February and of course, being hooked once again, you can imagine my excitement when I saw TV commercials for Monster Trucks in Springfield, MO!! Springfield is only about an hour and fifteen minutes or so from where I live, and this was the perfect opportunity to go to another show. My wife and I decided to make a weekend out of it and attend the show both days, while also finding time to do some shopping for furniture for the baby's room.
Another reason I was really looking forward to this show is that I can vaguely remember being a little boy and begging each year for my parents to take me to the Monster Truck show at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield. Got to go a few times, and can still remember bits and pieces from when my Dad took me to the shows way back when. Just wish I could find some of the pictures!! Its exciting to think that in a few years, I'll be taking my little boy to Springfield to see the Monster Trucks. Anyway, on with the coverage!!
As you can tell, I went to this show for one thing only...to see Monster Trucks!! Those of you who are more familiar with the site will know that I usually try to dedicate some coverage to some of the companion events with the show, but not at Springfield, at least on Day 1 anyway. I took exactly one picture of the hundreds of Show-N-Shine trucks on display, and go figure, it was of a Monster Truck!! This Xtreme Thrill Monster Truck is very unique in that, as far as I can tell, it is a show truck only, and can perform this pretty neat trick. As it was at the time though, I was a little unimpressed because there was a Monster Truck at the event that wouldn't be competing. What a waste, lol!!
Anyway, that's about it for the pre-race stuff because we were pretty much just interested in the Monster Trucks. We took a few photos of some of the Mud Bogging, Tough Trucking, and Pulling on the second day, but that will be seen in the Day 2 coverage of this event. Moving right along, let's take a look at this star-studded lineup of Monster Trucks that would be competing in the evening's event!!
THE LINEUP OF MONSTER TRUCKS
This would be first experience seeing Jim Kohler and the Avenger truck in competition. Avenger was not part of the lineup at the St. Louis Monster Jam, but this truck definitely stood out from the rest with this cool 1957 Chevy body on it. Was a little surprised at the condition of the body however, as it was in pretty rough shape.
Another very cool truck was on hand for the weekend's events. This was the Big Dawg truck driven by Doug Noelke. This would also be our first time getting to see the Big Dawg in action. My wife really liked the paint scheme on this truck, and decided she was going to root for him to win tonight.
BIGFOOT 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Here was the truck that made my day though! Having been a fan way back when I was little, my favorite truck was Bigfoot. This was also the debut of the brand new 30th Anniversary paint scheme that has become some popular with Monster Truck fans. The awesome Bigfoot truck would be driven by Dave Harkey, one of the Bigfoot drivers that I was not familiar with at the time. We got a chance to meet him over by their trailer, and he signed a couple of autographs for us. He seemed like a really nice guy, and we had him sign the autographs "To Zane" even though our little guy wouldn't be born until August. I definitely knew who I would be pulling for this weekend, and that was the truck I loved to watch when I was little, the beautiful blue Bigfoot!!
GOD, GUTS, & GLORY
Didn't know too much about this truck, as it wasn't on display with the others before the show. We only saw the truck sitting out at the far end of the fairgrounds when we entered the grandstand. As it turned out, I guess the crew was having a lot of mechanical difficulties that would plague them all weekend. The truck was to be driven by Melissa Stathas.
And now, the Raminator!! My initial reaction to this truck was simply, wow. Being a Chevy guy myself and not having a dog in the fight, I was really looking forward to seeing the big Dodge go up against the big Ford of Bigfoot to see who could take the win. Mark Hall would be piloting the Raminator Dodge in Springfield this weekend.
The team truck to the Raminator was also on hand. The Rammunition Dodge, which would be driven Geremie Dishman, who someone had said was a driver newer to the sport. It would be interesting seeing how he would do going up against the big boys like Bigfoot and Raminator, but with the big Hemi under the hood, I was sure he would do just fine.
After looking around a little more, we had seen just about all there was to see on display. So we headed up to the grandstand to take our seats and wait for the action to begin!!
After a bit of a wait, we finally heard some very powerful engines roar to life and the Monster Trucks made their entrance into the arena!! The track setup was a lot different than the one we saw in St. Louis and was actually quite disappointing. The course would consist of only one jump over three cars and then a short drag to the finish line. One argument would be that the arena doesn't really have a lot of room, which is true, but they could have done better than this. This was only my second event attended since getting back into the sport, but my wife and I were very unhappy with the course design. It didn't seem like it would provide for very exciting racing, but only time would tell.
Well, that pretty much wraps up the pre-race activities. As I said before, we were only really interested in seeing one thing at this particular show, and that was the Monster Trucks!! Move on to the next page for some Monster Truck Racing action!!