Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Would Describe Such A Truck As Monstrous!

Concerning the monster truck show itself, I came to two basic conclusions:
A: It was a lot of fun
B: I'm probably not going to do it again

It was the sort of event that you want to experience once, but not neccesarily more than once.

About monster trucks:
Point number one: these motherfuckers are LOUD. I mean, teeth-rattling, eyeball-puncturing, scrotum-clenching loud, so loud that when warm fluid starts pumping out of your ears, you don't know if it's blood, cochleal fluid, or vitreous humor, and you don't care. When it got loud at Gopher games (probably the loudest stadium experience of my life before this), it was kind of powerful and transcendent; you could close your eyes and scream as loud as you could and kind of be at peace within the white-noise roar of the crowd. But this shit? This shit just hurt.
Very important equipment

Wayne happened to have an extra pair of earplugs, and those little waxy nubbins saved my ass. It was kind of a bitch to take them out and put them in, though. You'd keep 'em out to listen to some veteran driver talk about the proper technique for clearing a really enormous dirt jump (you gotta throttle it up, then ease up at the top and sort of lob the truck over; otherwise, you'll snap the suspension and your run is over), then have to pop 'em back in pronto before the fuckin jet engines kicked in.

Thanks to the racket, communication of any sort (spectator to spectator, announcer to crowd, etc.) was nearly impossible (although Amelia was resourceful enough to think of typing in a text on her phone and just showing it to me), so we were pretty much on our own for figuring out the format. The event began with some driver/truck introductions. The trucks were parked along the edges of the arena, which is itself deserving of some description here. I can't find any images of similar set-ups, so you'll just have to imagine it (with some assistance from my incredibly detailed schematic drawing--see below).

We were inside the Metrodome, but it looked far different than I've ever seen it before. The first 30 rows were covered in white tarps (for fan safety, I assume), the field was completely covered in dirt, and there were four major obstacles in the middle. There were two long, low jumps, one red and the other blue, with a line of sedan chassis in the middle of each, a larger red and blue striped jump in the middle, and next to that a ridiculously big purple and gold jump, crowned by a purple short bus. This final jump was dubbed "Mount Minnesota," and the announcer spent most of the night reminding us that it was the "largest object ever to be placed on the Metrodome field!"So...after the intros (they turned out the lights and started playing "Bad To The Bone" when Grave Digger came out), there was a time trial sort of thing to determine the seeds for the race portion. Basically, the trucks would run once around the stadium, hitting the red jump and the blue jump once each. It was boring and loud. Then came a brief intermission, with a four-wheeler race between the black-clad cads of Wisconsin and the white knights of Minnesota (Wisconsin won this "prelimnary heat"), then more racing, this time with a single elimination tournament format. After another brief respite (Minnesota came from behind to win the "Championship heat" in the four wheeler business; hooray?), Grave Digger beat out the Air Force truck for the win.

At this point, things were looking pretty bad. The event had been kind of a yawn-fest, my head was throbbing, and my eyes and throat stung from the copious amounts of dust and smoke in the air. Luckily, it was at this point that things started to turn around.

First, we had the best "tweener" act of the night: the trailer demolition race. Now races are fun, and demolition races are even better, but neither of them can hold a candle to a trailer demolition race. The competitors were a dozen or so cars, deprived of their windshields and crudely painted, each pulling a trailer. Some trailers were empty, but others held boats, life-sized dummys, pianos, and, in the case of one badass, a hundred pounds of shredded paper. The rules were simple; the first car to finish the race with an intact trailer won.Man, this was a really sweet event. Stuff was falling off left and right, and the shredded paper guy was making white rings around the whole arena. Cars were getting run off the track, or into each other, or into the three or four boats which had fallen off during the first lap. By about the fifth lap, half the cars were out and only a few still had their trailers. Near the end of the race, a little yellow hatchback flipped over on a turn. They stopped the race and cleaned up the track as the driver wormed his way out and thrust his arms into the air, and the crowd went wild. A front end loader came out and flipped over his car, and the dude finished the race. Now that's the sort of thing that makes you proud to be an American.

The second factor in the emotional turnaround was the next event, the freestyle competition. Wikipedia offered up a little bit of history on this subject: apparently when monster truck shows first started to tour the nation, the races were the focus. However, some of the more popular drivers asked for the opportunity to perform for the crowd when they were eliminated early. These early exhibitions were so popular that freestyle has become a new category for competition. Drivers have 90 seconds to take whatever course they choose through the arena. They recieve a score of 3-30 (1-10 from three judges) based on rhythm, execution, variety, and showmanship. The trucks get big air, pull wheelies, and occasionally smash like trailer homes or airplanes or whatever. It is reeeeally kickass.

It was during the freestyle that I started to suspect that monster truck competition, much like pro wrestling, may be fixed. The first few drivers really sucked (one guy barely got started before his truck broke down), the next few were a little better, and the last three were totally awesome. No one even made an attempt at the Red n' Blue jump until the third to last guy, and only the last two made it over Mt. Minnesota. And, suprise of suprises, Grave Digger went last and dominated everybody. He hit the big jumps twice each, smashed an RV (apparently brought out just for this purpose), and finished his time by flipping over his truck.
Final result: a double victory for Grave Digger...but at what cost? This suspicious double victory by the most popular truck in the world has turned me into a heartless, hopeless cynic. Damn you Grave Digger.

In retrospect, I guess I'd do this again. There was a little patriotic bullshit during the pre-game ("We, we're just so dern free!"), and it was loud and stinky, but overall it was pretty sweet, and at $16 relatively cheap.

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11 Comments:

At 8:42 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger Rianna said...

You'd seriously never experienced a monster truck rally before this? Man, and I thought I was sheltered.

 
At 8:50 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

oh man, major burn

Alright show of hands. Who has attended a monster truck rally before/who plans to attend one at some point?

 
At 10:13 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger Amelia said...

i've attended one. and i'll never attend one again.
I was a fan of BRUTUS,i think he did all right.
He dun good, if ya know what I mean

 
At 10:25 AM, February 21, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

nope and... nope.

 
At 4:19 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger matt said...

i side with tome

 
At 4:19 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger matt said...

and clearly referring to tom as a a large scholarly book was no accident

 
At 4:45 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger Houley said...

i'm with matt and his volume.

 
At 5:19 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger Hillstorm said...

I've been to Supercross two or three times...

 
At 6:49 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger bundy said...

never been to one. even though i'm a republican, i will never set foot in that cesspool of hicks who give our kind a bad name. it does sound like a lot of fun, though, i like loud noises and watching metal be crushed.

 
At 8:30 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

then go find hillary clinton after Obama beats her out in the primaries... HEY-OH!

 
At 5:12 PM, February 22, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

Man, screw you guys.

I'm gonna go on a cross-country chopper ride to find the real America.

 

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