Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On finding Bigfoot, and losing my hearing

Note: This column appears in the 9/13 issue of the Glendale Star, and 9/14 issue of the Peoria Times

By the time you read this, the Arizona Cardinals will have won or lost their season-opening game against the 49ers. Because my deadline is Monday, I cannot expound upon that result. Instead I’ve decided to stick to my lifelong journalistic rule: If your deadline prevents you from writing about the team you halfheartedly cover, do the next best thing -- write about Monster Trucks.

This past Saturday night, the University of Phoenix Stadium hosted the Monster Truck Thunder Drags event. My wife -- Monster Truck enthusiast that she is -- decided to come with me. Also, I am joking about her being a Monster Truck enthusiast. Neither of us had ever attended such an affair. I’m not saying that New Jersey didn’t have Monster Trucks, but if they did, nobody ever told us.

I feel like I should begin the recap of our experience appropriately. Ahem…Saturday, Saturday, SATURDAY night we attended our first ever Monster Truck rally. I didn’t really know how to handle myself during such an event, so I immediately purchased a $10 beer and sat down.

The night began with an emotional video tribute to the original Bigfoot -- no, he’s not dead, just in the shop -- and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. (Wait, did I say “eye?” I meant cup.) This night however, was going to feature the latest installment of Bigfoot -- Bigfoot 16 -- thus further extending the lineage of the “first family of Monster Trucks.” The Bigfoots are like the Mannings of Motor sports, and every son is Peyton.

Each of the trucks was then introduced to the crowd. There was “Obsession” (not a fan -- I don’t like my Monster Trucks sounding like cologne), “Raminator” (more like it), which was not to be confused with “Ramunition,” and many others. One of the crowd favorites was “Jurassic Attack,” which featured one of the only female Monster Truck drivers on the circuit. Her truck looked like a turquoise Triceratops, and proved that you can drive a skull-crushing, remorseless machine, yet be fashion-conscious at the same time, which was nice. The announcer mentioned that each of the vehicles was “injected on alcohol,” which was a coincidence, because so was I.

The Monster Trucks raced each other around the track, while the crowd cheered on in delight. I should also mention that nobody informed my wife and I that earplugs would have been a good idea, so we spent the entire next Sunday yelling to each other from two feet away: “I SAID, ‘WHERE ARE THE FRITOS?’” Anyway, one of the better matchups featured Ramunition going head-to-head with Raminator. I don’t remember who won, but there was a surprising lack of ramming. Of course, it was all for naught as a confident Bigfoot destroyed the competition with grace and precision. And by “grace” I mean that he kicked the living crap out of everyone and everything in his way.

In the middle of it all, the crowd was informed that a local truck from Glendale was about to perform some feats of magnificence. The truck revved its engine, stalled, and then eventually had to be removed by a bulldozer. Apparently, the truck’s drive shaft broke. I hate when that happens.

The highlight of the evening was the Monster Truck freestyle, where each of the trucks took their turn rolling over stacks of cars, and then doing donuts in the dirt. That was, oh what’s the phrase I’m looking for?…bonkers. And yet again, Bigfoot stole the show. Ya’ know, Bigfoot may not be as flashy as the other trucks, but he definitely handles his business. If I learned anything from this event – and I learned a lot -- it’s that Bigfoot is not to be messed with.

Oh, and earplugs. Gotta have earplugs.


Stupid drive shaft...


Bigfoot 16: Not as powerful as Bigfoot 8, but with more torque than Bigfoot 12

3 comments:

CMB said...

Love it! Another fabulous post. I took Johnny to a demo derby and monster truck show back in the summer of 1994. We had a good time and it was pretty loud. WOW, I just realized he was only 10 years old!

Lisa said...

Don't try to act like you never heard of Raceway Park!

Anonymous said...

You really know how to treat a girl, taking her to a monster truck show and not buying her any earplugs...geez!