IMPERIAL VALLEY — The Monster Truck show at the premier evening of the California Mid-Winter Fair& Fiesta Feb. 28 lacked the fear factor of Dracula but kept a packed grandstand audience on the edge of their seats.
perpetrated tortuous turns and supernatural stunts that send most passenger
cars to an auto graveyard.
the unexpected once it gets going, remain for the freestyle competition, which
everybody loves,” urged Gary Burt, announcer and former promoter for
Monster X, sponsoring contractor.
a wide demographic range of a fan base, clearly it was the youngsters who yanked
their parents and grandparents to the spectacle.
Mejorado, 14, from El Centro, convinced his mother, Carmen, to witness the dare
devilish hulking vehicles (12,000 pounds) shape-shift into flying land rovers
that land on their feet with cat-like precision.
been seeing the Monster Tucks since I was 5,” recalled Johnathan. “I
love watching them jump over the ramps (consisting of three parked junkers
including a vintage Mercedes) without a rollover.”
her two sons attended the pre-performance “Pit Party” which welcomed
fans to the track to check out the trucks.
awesome,” said Carmen. “We got autographs and pictures of the drivers
and they were all great, very friendly. It was fun riding the fire truck
(authentic 1950 model converted to a Monster Truck). Everybody ought to try
Fans Meet Drivers
one of the competing drivers, piloted his truck with the road moniker,
“Playing for keeps.” He arrived from his base in Vacaville but he is
originally from Leon, Spain and has been competing for 20 years.
for points and trophies,” said Canedo. “I do 22 shows over a 10-month
season. Normally, there’s six to 10 drivers but tonight we just have five.
We’ve removed all the auto glass, most of the interior, replace it with roll
bars. Drivers wear a helmet, flame retardant jump suit and a harness. When we
get out to the track, whatever comes up, we make the best of it. But what I
really love are the kids and the fans. That’s the main thing.”
Thrill of Live
Salcido waited to ride the fire truck and explained it was his first time
seeing the Monster trucks live.
seen them on TV and thought it’d be cool to watch them in person. Sometimes the
smash ups can be a bit of a buzz,” he admitted.
first two heats in the grandstand, Joe Coronel explained it was his first
Monster Truck show in Imperial County.
had one in San Diego a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “I couldn’t get
in there so I thought I might as well take advantage of the show at the fair.
It’s thrilling just watching. Last time I went to a show was in L.A. County
when I lived up there 20 years ago. They just keep getting crazier and
a veteran driver, has a lot of history with the Mid-Winter Fair, attending 38
years ago when most other drivers were not born yet. He started off with
off-road trucks but by the mid-80s became a fan of the Monster Truck pioneers.
He was racing his truck, “Terminator” (liked the movie and the name,
he confided) equipped with the big foot 66-inch tires.
I like building the trucks. I like taking a pile of metal and building it into
something useful,” he said. “And I like getting big air (attaining
maximum lift jumping the ramps) and doing donuts (spin outs) and a good wheelie
when I can take it. Also, I like this weather and you got a good group
action from the grandstand was Elsa Castro from Brawley who also said she tried
to get admission to the recent show in San Diego but missed the competition.
The Imperial County fair provided a second chance.
(Michael) is a big fan of the Monster Trucks and when we arrived tonight, I got
him the Monster Truck toy and the checkered flag,” she said. “I started
watching the trucks on YouTube because Michael was watching them. But then I
got hooked and it’s pretty cool.”
competing included a brother dynamic duo of Jacob Galley, driving “Wicked
Strong,” and Brendan Galley, driving “Enforcer,” as well as Rod
Wood, driving “McGruff.”
It was Wood
taking first place in the wheelie competition (Schott, a game second). Canedo
scored an impressive two first-place finishes with the, “Chicago
Style” racing, where trucks face one another on parallel tracks as well as
prevailing in the freestyle where it is driver’s choice for their preferred