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The History of Monster Truck Events

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On: Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 5:32PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The History of Monster Truck Events

If you are a truck enthusiast, chances are that you are into Monster Trucks, particularly if your love for trucks goes back to the 70s when their popularity initially began, as lifted trucks with large 48-inch wheels became the rave. Famous trucks such as “Bigfoot" and “King Kong” were first introduced back then and still compete in shows today.

In the late 70s, truck enthusiasts began to explore different options for mud bogging and truck pulling which were evolving into more and more popular leisure activities. Trucks used for competition started to be modified to adapt to an increased demands that were put on them.

A pioneer in the monster truck industry was Bob Chandler, who has become known as the founder of the trade. Bob Chandler was a 4X4 enthusiast, and those who knew him say he was a lead-foot when he drove. His notoriously heavy foot led to a nickname—Bigfoot. Chandler started creating promotional videos of his jumps for his truck store. Then, as fate would have it, an event promoter noticed the video and requested that Chandler start performing in front of a live audience. Eventually the events grew to be more and more popular. Chandler was the first promoter of events with monster trucks that would jump and race other trucks. Chandler's performance became known as the “Truck-A-Rama,” and he was also believed to have first termed the phrase “Monster Truck,” when describing the famous truck called “Bigfoot.”

Today, the Bigfoot racing trucks use a 572 c.i. engine, which puts out between 1200 and 1500 horsepower, and 1100 to 1300 foot/pounds of torque. Bigfoot model 16 runs a 565 c.i. engine, which puts out even more power.

Monster trucks are famous, not only because of their enormous engine size, but also because of features such as large wheels and suspensions placed on top of traditional truck bodies that are modified for competition in sports entertainment. Truck designs are based on scaled-up 4X4 dune buggies with stylized fiberglass bodies, making them appear very similar to the body of a regular truck, but under the shell they have custom tubular chasses, with special suspension that can provide up to four feet of clearance.

In 1988 the Monster Truck Racing Association was formed. This organization standardized the rules for racing and construction of the trucks; safety standards were also implemented. Racing began gaining more and more popularity, with freestyle driving being a secondary sport. In the year 2000 monster truck freestyle became a judged competition.

“Monster Jam” is currently the largest and most popular promoter of tours in North America and Canada.

Over the years many changes have evolved in monster truck competitions, such as mandatory safety features like fire suits, helmets, and neck restraints.

Today, monster truck tours are the second-largest touring attraction for family entertainment in the United States, with trucks such as “Jurassic Attack,” “Bad News,” and, of course, the famous “Bigfoot,” which continues to be the main attraction of the show.

UPDATE: Big Foot is now a Chevrolet. How weird!


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