Sunday, February 10, 2013

2013 Monster Jam in Kansas City. Just fun, nothing too serious

You can argue that Monster Jam monster truck events are staged, redneck, whatever.  But I think they put on a great, kid-friendly show, and the trucks themselves are nothing short of amazing.

The Monster Jam tour made its annual stop in Kansas City’s Sprint Center over the weekend.  As usual, this isn’t one of their major events.  It’s not televised.  Most of the big name drivers don’t make it.  And the Sprint Center is too small for these trucks to do anything very spectacular.  But they still draw big crowds for these events, and it really is a fun atmosphere.

One of the better things that we decided to try this year was the pre-show “Party in the Pits.”  It tacked an extra ten bucks to what I consider to already be high-priced tickets, but it was still a memory-maker for my nine-year-old son BHo.  All of the monster trucks were parked in the arena, and people were allowed to go down there and check them out, take pictures, and get autographs and pictures with the drivers.

The drivers seem to really have a good time with all the kids, and are willing to sign almost anything.  We bought a program for signatures, but BHo also brought a few die casts of the trucks that were there.  He was pretty excited when he discovered that they would sign those too.  “I am not going to play with these anymore,” he said about his newly authenticated collectibles.

Monster trucks are incredible vehicles.  There’s obviously nothing even remotely factory about them anymore, as they are sophisticated racing machines.  The best trucks seem lighter than air; able to leap completely off the ground with a blip of the throttle.  But they still weigh some 10,000-lbs, which makes this all the more amazing.

And they do take a beating.  It’s nothing for one to jump 15-feet off the ground, slam back to earth, and keep on going like nothing ever happened.  The Superman truck actually flipped over while we were there, and all they had to do was drag it back over with a chain and an earth-mover and it was able to drive away.

You might think I’m crazy, but they actually remind me more of a sprint car than a truck.  Big, 1,500+ horsepower, alcohol-burning engines allow them to spurt to inconceivably high speeds almost immediately.  The drivers have to control them under difficult conditions.  And I think you’d have to be a little on the wild side to successfully drive them.

In addition to the main attraction, they also had some little pocket motorcycles that put on a little race.  Additionally, there were a couple of Transformers-style robot vehicles that battled it out to save the earth.  They also had Sprocket, the little sidekick guy who tossed out T-shirts and kept the crowd generally entertained during lulls in the action.

I took a few pictures.  They’re in the slideshow belowClick this link if you want to see them in a nicer format.

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