The first quarter of monster truck action officially was in the books when the calendar year changed to April. It saw the indoor season have highlights unlike any in years past, including Monster Jam crowning it's new champions and a 30-year celebration of the "Black and Green Wrecking Machine."
Other promoters such as the Monster Nationals continue their indoor run with one more event to go in deciding a champion. Others such as the Toughest Monster Truck Tour have crowned their champion.
As spring fever starts to set in, the focus shifts to the outdoor season, which means the premier series of the warm weather will be back in action. This season, the competition will not just be about driver against driver. Instead, it will be a series of team against team, as the first two events of the year involve tandem teams of monster trucks going after the points championship.
Leading the way into the first event will be the defending General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags champion team, Team Bigfoot 4x4.
But, unlike last year, there will be two Bigfoot trucks making the jamboree run in 2012. Headlining the tour will be the defending series champion driver, Dan Runte, but he will be defending his title in the all-new, radical Bigfoot 18.
Runte is already coming off a championship in the jamboree season, but he also is responsible for bringing home the new truck's first title in the Toughest Monster Truck Tour. However, Runte has always been eager since the minute he began testing the new piece to get outdoors. The longer wheelbase, longer travel suspension, and entire new dynamic for a Bigfoot truck has Runte chomping at the bit to get outside.
"As well as the new truck has worked inside, I don't see any reason to think it won't be highly competitive outside. We've got a title to defend and fans to entertain, and that's exactly what we intend to do," Runte said.
At the same time, he's got a new protege on the jamboree circuit, sophomore driver Darron Schnell in Bigfoot Bessie. The second-year driver has really come into his own on the Monster Nationals tour at the wheel of the #11 chassis, and will continue to be at the wheel of that truck for the first two jamboree events in Springfield, Missouri, along with Lima, Ohio.
Bigfoot is planning to have Schnell jump behind the wheel of the #15 truck at some point should driver Rick Long hang up his helmet, as he's stated he will at the end of the season. But, maybe if Schnell wants to put his name in the title hunt, they'll do so by keeping him in the same truck he's been driving.
However, if either Bigfoot truck wants to get this year's title, they will have to hold off the Hall Brothers team of Mark Hall and Mat Dishman, the drivers of Raminator and Rammunition.
Who could ever forget the final round between Dishman and Runte at last year's Indianapolis Jamboree, where the two collided at the end of the course, sending both into a roll. It was the biggest highlight of the entire season, but was still not enough to keep Runte from winning the series title.
The Hall Brothers bring back both trucks in a hope to start a new streak of championships in the jamboree season, and are fresh off a tour of Monster Jam that saw some great runs and strong freestyles.
It could possibly come down to these two teams in this year's title hunt.
Team Beast is making it's return to the jamboree tour as Bobby Holman and new team driver Joe Nichter bring both the Lucas Oil Stabilizer and an entirely new General truck on the circuit. Holman is coming off yet another strong season of Monster Nationals, as he's leading in the freestyle championship, while Nichter is getting used to his new truck. This could mean a learning curve for this team, but if history tells us anything, Team Beast will make things difficult for the other drivers.
The final team on the tour is based out of Pennsylvania, as Michelle Simpson and Dave Radzierez make their return to the jamborees.
Simpson is stepping up her skill as she is behind the wheel of an all-new Chalkboard Chuck. Yes, the truck that wants "your" autograph was on the tour last year, however Simpson has a brand new Patrick Enterprises chassis on the truck this year, and has been extremely successful during her indoor tour.
Radzierez is slated to be back at the helm of the Star Marshall Cadillac, a truck that he's gotten very accustomed to over the last two years. His "good guy, bad attitude" way of driving has won over many people, so look for these two over the summer to have a lot of fun.
The final truck slated for the first two jamborees is making a long trip, as in across the ocean. Australia's popular truck, Outback Thunda, is coming to North America for the first time to go outdoor racing and freestyle against the top drivers in the tour.
This will be quite a bit different than the competition across the Pacific Ocean, so it will be interesting to see how the truck from down under will do.
The Lucas Oil 4-Wheel Jamboree season kicks off in Springfield, Missouri, at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds from May 5-6 for the first three rounds of competition. Two weeks later, it's to the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, for at least three more rounds of competition.
After almost a two-month layoff, the jamboree season kicks back into gear from July 13-15, hitting this writer's home state as it returns to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, for the 25th Bloomsburg jamboree. A total of four rounds of competition will be seen over the course of that weekend.
The final stop on the tour will once again be the Indiana State Fairgrounds from September 14-16 to crown the season champions.
For more information on the jamboree season, including up-to-date information, schedule of events, fast facts, and ticket information, visit 4WheelJamboree.com and stick with AllAboutHorsepower.com for all the event results over the summer.