Monday, February 10, 2014

Monster Jam Kansas City 2014. We just keep going

As you may have guessed from the high-octane TV commercials lately, there was a Monster Jam event in Kansas City’s Sprint Center over the weekend.  They’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’re only gonna’ need the edge.  It was pretty exciting stuff in the ad.  And for like the 25th year in-a-row, I witnessed the February mayhem.  I actually had a pretty fun time, although there are some things about it that make me wonder why.  This might not be the best show in the country, and the ticket prices are flat-out ridiculous, but I’ve been waiting all winter to hear racing engines and suck up some carbon monoxide.  Let’s check out some of the stuff that was going on Friday night in downtown KC.

The big draw at this event always seems to be Grave Digger.  Most little boys have a Hot Wheels diecast of it, and they send a Grave Digger to every show.  This one was driven by Jon Zimmer, although the actual Grave Digger trucks started with their owner, Dennis Anderson, in 1982.  Most of the folks in the crowd didn’t seem to mind that the main man wasn’t behind the wheel here, because Grave Digger “won” the Freestyle competitions at every show all weekend.  It’s probably safe to say that it was the best truck there, but it’s also the most famous, comes out last, and has its own Bad to the Bone soundtrack over the PA system.  For a subjective competition that’s based on votes, Grave Digger has a distinct advantage.

The second most popular rig at this event is the Batman truck, driven by John Seasock.  Seasock is the actual guy that drives this truck on TV, so you know you’re getting the real deal here.  This truck has a Michael Keaton-era Batmobile body mounted atop the monster truck chassis, so the kids get pretty excited about it.  It won the two racing competitions over the weekend that Grave Digger didn’t win, so it’s also a fast truck.  They’ve been running a version of this truck since 2006, so it has had time to build up a strong following.  This year, they replaced the campy yellow Batman oval with a more ominous silver bat.  Sign of the times, I suppose.

King Krunch and Nitro Hornet are team trucks, and both have Chevrolet bodies that are similar to the one Bigfoot was sporting at the Monster Truck show we attended in Kemper Arena last November.  King Krunch has actually been around since 1982, and is now being driven by David Smith.  Daron Basl’s Nitro Hornet was the best looking truck out there in my opinion, but with Grave Digger and Batman in the house, it wasn’t likely to win anything.  Incidentally, every truck that had a body that you could decipher what kind of truck it was supposed to be was a Chevrolet. 

A couple that were not easy to tell what kind of trucks they were supposed to be were Spike Unleashed and Megabite.  That’s because they both looked like dogs.  They ran like dogs too.  Driver Brad Allen pretty much put Spike Unleashed out of commission on the very first jump, and Cory Rummel was doing good just to Keep Megabite running. These trucks had clearly seen better days, but they were something to look at anyway. 

In addition to the monster trucks, they also had some motorcycle stunt riders that were kind of fun to watch.  And that’s about it.  There were no wild flips, the driver’s seemed to be trying not to tear up their equipment, and they didn’t bring in an old bus, trailer, or van to enhance the freestyle competition.  Looked at objectively, this was one of the weakest monster truck shows I’ve ever seen.  Even my ten-year-old son realized that it wasn’t that spectacular.

But we still went.  And we will probably go next year.  Why?  Because loud V8 engines and carbon monoxide, that’s why. There are a few mediocre pictures taken from high in the grandstands in the slideshow below or at this link.

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