I can remember being young and knowing nothing about Monster Truck racing. I have honestly learned little more about it since. But growing up, every once in a while on a rainy Saturday afternoon, that awkward hour in the mornings between regular Saturday morning cartoons and the Disney Afternoon…I’d see it. Big Foot, Grave Digger, Big Foot II, King Kong. Big foot’s III – VIII! Monster Trucks.
They call it a truck – and indeed the humble beginnings were modified pick-ups. But the current versions run on pure alcohol and have more in common with a modern tank. The fibreglass truck body that allows them to keep their namesake is a shell that hides a powerhouse wrapped in steel and designed to survive unreasonable damage. They can launch 35 feet in the air, back-flip, roll over, end over, and lose tires, but the engines are always running when the rolling stops. They have the power to crush small cars and Winnebagos alike. A truck big enough to drive over your niece standing upright deserves some respect. Every man who hasn’t driven a monster truck – wants to.
Saturday Afternoon I took my nephew in early for “Party in the Pit.” It cost a little something extra, but my nephew loved it. We got up close to the trucks, and my nephew giggled at the revving engines and cheered for the men in these “Gigantic Crushinators.” He’s six, but he knows what power sounds like. I took the opportunity to introduce him to the driver of the roaring vehicle. Cam McQueen of Kelowna BC – Driver of the Northern Nightmare.” My nephew has been to hockey games and is used to seeing athletes from afar. But he was vibrating with the excitement of talking to Cam, and told him how much cooler he was than me. “He could crush your puny truck like a juice box” he said after a quick photo of the two of them. I resented the comment though I knew it to be true. What I was learning quickly was that little boys love to see things smashed. They also love shouting. There were many other families and groups that look similar to mine, and the drivers engaged them all with smiles and stories. It was a great experience for my nephew, and for all the other boys, and man’ish boys surrounding me.
After the Engines fired up, a roar overtook BC place. The trucks screamed to life, and the mayhem got under way. What I remember seeing on television as a child did little justice to what I saw in front of me. They launched over cars like nothing. The smashing windows carried over the noise of the engines and cheers. My nephew and I were out of our seats to cheer the drivers on. We enjoyed the freestyle event most – A chance for drivers to pick their own path through the course. The giant school bus in the center of the course was frequently being used to launch huge aerial jumps. Donuts, rollovers, smashed cars and cheers of excitement for near misses rang in our ears.
On the drive home, my nephew couldn’t sit still. He was still excited about all the action. Imagining us flattening Saturday night traffic on our way home. He immediately got home and set up a similar course with his hotwheels to show his parents the excitement. Re enacted screams, sqeeeling tires and engines revving was the sound track for the rest of the night.
The Monster Truck Jam was a huge success for us. We had a ton of fun and made a lot of memories. The opportunity to “Party in the Pit” was a big hit. Usually backstage access is for the select few, but anyone was welcome to come have a closer look at the trucks and drivers. The drivers themselves were very engaging. It was a lot of fun for me and my nephew – and indeed made a great family friendly event. What’s better is that the memories will last a lifetime, and it hardly cost more than a night out at the movies.