Celebrating an undead birthday – at Monster Jam

For as much fun as my friends have making fun of my redneck tendencies, we couldn’t find a car big enough to fit everybody for this year’s adventure to the local monster truck rally.  Once my friends see the twinkle in my eye and hear the pure, unadulterated excitement in my voice, they can’t deny that little voice in the back of their own head saying, “Hold on a second.  Pickup trucks with massive engines and oversized tires??  Why have we not explored this idea sooner?!?”

Monster truck rallies are an undeniable cultural experience.  Most of the general public just don’t want to acknowledge that fact.  (yeah, you read that right…I said fact.)  As much as some people like the opera or ballet, others like monster trucks, demolition derbies, and NASCAR.  And for good reason…it’s exciting!  Monstrous mayhem and colossal collisions?!?  Yes, please.

This year was even more special.  All 60,000+ spectators that were crammed into Lucas Oil Stadium helped celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the world’s most famous mechanical monsters – Grave Digger!  As George Thorogood & The Destroyers pumped through the P.A. system, the red lights on the front of the truck lit up, and the beast’s hood pointed straight up in the sky as it rode a wheelie across the stadium floor.  The excitement didn’t last long though.  You see, Grave Digger is such a huge brand name in monster trucks that there are numerous trucks with different drivers.  Apparently, the Indianapolis event wasn’t deemed a big enough event to bring in the main man, Dennis Anderson, or even his understudy, Charlie Pauken.  We were assigned some third-rate no-name who completely failed to live up to the hype that has been built over the last 30 years.

30th Anniversary Grave Digger getting big air

Don’t let that disappointment fool you for a second though.  Monster Jam still lived up to expectations, as Tom Meents and Maximum Destruction did their usual insane freestyle exhibition, driving everyone out of their seats and out of their minds!  The night was about to end quickly and quite anti-climactically as the four-wheeled behemoth came crashing down from a sky-high jump and quite literally snapped the front right wheel nearly completely off.  The truck came to a crashing halt, and the engine grew silent.  You could almost hear the collective sigh of disappointment come from the crowd in unison, but just as the announcer was about to wrap things up for the evening, there was the unmistakable sound of an engine roaring to life.  It was Maximum Destruction, which was currently sitting on the side of the course in shambles.  The truck jerked back and forth violently for a couple of seconds until the unfixable wheel completely broke off.  Now the truck was leaning into the ground with a javelin consisting of the front axle digging into the dirt.  If you know anything about the driver and the truck, then you should be well aware that’s not enough to stop a show!  Tom Meents smashed the gas and cut the wheel, causing the axle to lift off the ground, and allowing him to pick up as much speed as possible…just as he hit a jump and launched his crippled truck into the air once more!  After planting the front axle into the dirt upon impact, he smashed the throttle and kept as much momentum as possible to try another jump.  Only this time, the dangling axle jammed into a tattered car and abruptly halted the truck for good.  But that’s all it took.  That was enough to salvage the event from being a let-down. 

Maximum Destruction maximum destructed

And that’s the thing about monster truck rallies.  They don’t disappoint.  The drivers know what the fans want, and they are more than willing to go as far out of their way to make sure they get everything and then some. 

The true disappointment comes by way of more negative responses from people I assume have never attended a monster truck rally.  I have a feeling that although certain people feel the need to publicly dismiss Monster Jam, internally they are very curious.  Next year, I may just need to rent a van!

Thank you, that is all.


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