Photo Credit: Daniel Donnelly
The first weekend of January for many places speaks the end of the first week of business in the new year. For Monster Jam, it means the beginning of a three-month season that is every weekend, no off-time and little time for rest and recovery.
Much like last year, the first weekend of the year had some minor setbacks long before the season kicked off. With the Houston Texans hosting their Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium on Saturday afternoon, that meant the big event for many of the top stars of the tour had to be shifted around to other cities. That meant rather than have two major stadium events to start the new year, it would be mainly compiled of arena events, with the largest of those happening in Tacoma, Washington, which had been titled "Rock the Dome."
Four huge events would highlight that weekend, as it would mark the opening weekend for the 10th season of Maximum Destruction. Lead driver Tom Meents brought out one of the two new looks for his Max-D machine. The truck kept the normal futuristic SUV style, but two huge changes came with the body.
First off, a menacing robot, which is usually on the truck of the body, instead was blasted in 3D graphics on both sides. Meents also had the unique look of having neon all around the body, as when the lights went out for introductions his truck would glow bright orange.
It seemed to be popular as he would win racing on the opening night, while also taking home freestyle wins on both Saturday shows.
Meanwhile, his team trucks also were having major weekends, but did not run the same look. The look for both Neil Elliott and Kreg Christensen was one that had an appearance made more for an armored utility vehicle than a monster truck. Their trucks were equipped with a body that had spikes encompassing every available piece of fiberglass, along with the same 3D skull that Meents would run.
It didn't seem to make a big difference as Neil would have a spectacular start to his season, winning seven of nine events in Trenton, NJ. Meanwhile, Christensen had his rear-engine Max-D equipped with the spikes and won two events of his own on the concrete in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The weekend also saw great runs by the Grave Digger crew, as all three Andersons (Dennis, Adam and Ryan) all had big victories. Unfortunately for Ryan, his weekend in Son-Uva Digger ended on Saturday night as a push rod went through the motor, and rather than risk hurting the engine more, he sat out the freestyle portion of his event.
Also, it was a huge debut for new trucks, and new drivers as well. It marked the return of Blue Thunder, now with Dan Evans behind the wheel, plus the reveal of the new black and yellow El Toro Loco machines, driven by Marc McDonald and Becky McDonough. Taryn Laskey also got her own ride as a team truck in the Monster Mutt Dalmatian, and Nicole Johnson also had a new machine, debuting Scooby Doo to the delight of the dog fans.
Team Hot Wheels unveiled a new look, and a new driver as Scott Beutow took the reins of the big Ford, and in one of the more unique debuts, Sean Duhon unveiled the new "Zombie" truck. A familiar driver, Alex Blackwell, returned to the seat of Captain's Curse, now with a black body, and the Wolverine machine now had a new driver, former Grave Digger crew chief Dustin Brown, who ironically couldn't escape the grasp of Dennis Anderson as he would be his touring partner.
Next weekend, Monster Jam continues, and three major stadium events mark the beginning of a huge three days of action. With the Atlanta Falcons hosting their divisional playoff game next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, that event was moved to February. Not one to disappoint, with Houston now on the road for their next playoff game, that line-up was moved to the Jan. 12 event at Reliant Stadium.
At the same time, the northern tier gets their fix as Monster Jam returns to Ford Field in Detroit for the first time in 2013. Not one to be left out, the West Coast swing continues with a huge event in Anaheim, California, at the home of the Anaheim Angels.
Eight more events are alongside these major stadium events.
Tickets for every event are available at MonsterJam.com, which will link over to Ticketmaster. Get out there, and live it live.