Monster Jam comes to Wells Fargo Arena1/2/2013
The first monster trucks emerged as sideshow attractions at tractor pulling events at places like the Iowa State Fair. In the beginning, they merely drove slowly over old cars, thrilling fans with their crushing capabilities. But it wasn’t long before that became too mundane for coming generations of fans.
Over the next several years, skills and technologies improved. The suspensions and motors of the trucks matched the improved abilities of their drivers, and the monster truck shows evolved into high-flying, high-speed races with new trucks, more crushing power, higher jumps, bigger obstacles and greater speeds to form the high-horsepower acrobatic chaos known as the Monster Jam freestyle competition.
Each driver gets 60 or 90 seconds to bring the fans to their feet by performing a mechanical ballet of spectacular high jumps and frenzied maneuvering. Cars, busses, boats, trucks and even airplanes now show up as obstacles on the track. As each truck finishes its freestyle routine, a panel of expert judges offer scores based on creativity, style and degree of difficulty and skill.
The specialty trucks, 12-feet tall and 12-feet wide, weigh approximately 10,000 pounds each. Lightweight tires and fiberglass bodies are used so more strength can be built into the frame without sacrificing speed, maneuverability or safety. Drivers are restrained in a custom molded seat with a five-point harness system with head and neck restraint devices to keep them safe as they jump, bounce and roll throughout the arena. A 1,500 horsepower supercharged engine burns 2.5 gallons of methanol per run, powering the trucks over the busses and other obstacles.
But aside from the show, the Monster Jam Pit Party has become a fan favorite. Held mid-afternoon on Saturday, the pre-show experience provides fans unparalleled access to the racetrack and drivers where they can collect autographs, take photos and explore the obstacles before they are destroyed by the 10,000-pound trucks.
The transformation of Wells Fargo Arena will require the work of two professional crews to sculpt the arena floor into a thrilling indoor track. A total of 4,300 tons of dirt will be trucked into the arena by 15 dump trucks and pushed into jumps, berms and mud pits by 11 pieces of heavy machinery. In all, approximately 130 hours are needed to turn the Wells Fargo Arena from a basketball court into one of the most exciting motor-sport venues imaginable.
“I enjoyed working the floor,” said Alan Featherston, local Jeep club member who worked the Quad City show last year. “To see the children’s and parents’ enthusiasm was infectious. To deal with the drivers and crews firsthand added whole new perspective. They are as personable behind the scenes as they are in the public eye. It was a fantastic time, and I plan on working it again this year.” CV
Tickets begin at $20 for adults and $5 for kids age 2-12 and are available at the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office, all Dahl’s Foods locations, online at www.dahlstickets.com or by phone at 866-55-DAHLS. Discount coupons are available at participating Advance Auto Parts locations until Jan. 3 while supplies last. Shows are on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. The Monster Jam Pit Party begins at 11:30 on Saturday morning.