Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm going to complain about the Kansas City Monster Jam event, then tell you how good it is

I've never really understood why Kansas City needed the Sprint Center. Well, maybe it just wasn't what I expected. My favorite indoor stadium event each year was usually the monster truck show, and Kemper Arena managed to handle it for a long time. I was hoping the Sprint Center would be much bigger, like the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, and they would be able to host large-scale Monster Jam events worthy of SPEED TV coverage. But the Sprint Center seems to be the same size as Kemper. And it's harder to park. And the Quick Trip store inside was out of food.

At any rate, the small size of the Sprint Center will forever hamper the quality of participants Kansas City's Monster Jam event will attract, and it will always hold back the amount of action the drivers can present.

That being said, I still go every year. The constant complaining doesn't stop us from spending ridiculous amounts of money on tickets and concessions. These events cause long-term hearing damage and carbon monoxide poisoning, so you can bet I'll be there.

This year's event featured basically three name-brand monster trucks, and a handful of field-fillers. Grave Digger is always the biggest draw, even if it's driven by Pablo Huffaker instead of the trucks star owner/driver Dennis Anderson. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle truck is popular with the kids. And the Bounty Hunter truck from Tonganoxie, Kan., is pretty well-known.

This year's Monster Jam event was an all-freestyle format, meaning they got rid of the pointless drag racing events that meant nothing due to the short length of the stadium. They had a wheelie contest, a donut contest, some kind of timed event, and an all-out freestyle finale.

That stuff was all pretty fun to watch. They were relatively subdued, but it was enough action to keep my son cheering throughout the whole thing. They also threw a lot of T-shirts and stuff in the crowd, so that kept the excitement level up.

Actually, the most nail-biting portion of the afternoon was the motorcycle/BMX bike/quad-runner exhibition. Some of those motocross guys are certifiably crazy when they take those big jumps, and the BMX bike guys aren't too far behind. At one point, they had motocross, BMX bike, and quad runner guys all jumping over and under each other on the same ramps, while the superbike guys were doing wheelies and stuff around the edges. I gotta' tell ya', that little display took your breath away. You seriously wonder how they survive the show.

I went ahead and took some pictures of the afternoon's festivities, so you can get an idea of what things were like in the slideshow below. Monster Jam is pretty popular these days, and when you see how much the kids like it, you can certainly see why. Would I look at it as a serious competitive motorsport? Well, not this Kansas City event, that's for sure. But as an afternoon of fun family entertainment, the whole thing is worth it--tiny arena, ticket prices, and all.


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