PHOTO CREDIT: Shawn Hancock
After having nearly four months to rest and prepare, the folks at Family Events were ready to add their name into the monster truck schedule for the first quarter. The same promoters that are most known for the 4-Wheel Jamboree tour in the spring and summer once again enter the winter season as the hosts for the Monster Nationals.
The "Monster Nite Out" season began at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, and for the 2014 season the tour is headlined by a rivalry that has consistently dominated the jamboree tour.
Returning this year is defending Monster Nationals champion Mark Hall in the Raminator, but not in the same Raminator as a year ago. Last weekend, Hall and the entire Hall Brothers Racing team unveiled an entirely redone Raminator machine, going away from the red design the truck has seen since it'd debut in 2002. Instead, the look was a black design complete with 3D Ram heads on the sides and hood. Not only that, Hall also now has a new chassis underneath, with a stronger cradle, and more improved balance.
Joining him on the opening weekend was his teammate Mat Dishman, who also had a completely redone Rammunition. His truck was also redone, complete with a mirror-image chassis to Hall, but the body now had the Ram red colors, plus grey and the Mossy Oak camo colors.
The rivalry renewed this season is against the original monster truck team, Bigfoot. Last season, the team did not run the Monster Nationals tour, but this year when offered to come back, the team decided to give a call to an old friend, and champion driver.
Making his return back to driving is the 2000 ProMT champion, Eric Tack, who steps behind the wheel of Bigfoot #14 with an entirely new look, as sponsor Lucas Oil has taken over the all-new Ford Raptor bodied truck. With these three trucks in attendance, plus War Wizard and Heartbreaker, the fans were ready to go with the first of three shows over the weekend.
This year's events would feature five different competitions. Along with the racing and freestyle portions, there would also be wheelie, donut and long jump champions.
The paved surface proved to work well for the Hall Brothers team on the first night of competition, as it saw Hall take both the wheelie and long jump victories, while Dishman took the donut victory. But, the biggest surprise of the night was Kaila Savage surprising all the boys on the night by taking home the racing trophy, the biggest win of her career. Not to be outdone on the opening night, Tack made sure his return to the Bigfoot team would give him one victory, as he would power his way to the freestyle triumph.
Saturday's action would see two shows, with the 1:00 p.m. early bird event having almost mirror-like results.
The night started off once again with Hall showing that the HEMI power in the Raminator would be hard to stop, as he would take the donut competition. But, unlike the night before, Tack then made the 20-year-old Bigfoot #14 chassis stand proud as he would take the wheelie contest. Hall would then show what his truck would do when it came to distance, as for the second-straight event he would win the long jump.
To continue the afternoon case of deja-vu, Savage once again showed that despite possibly not always being the biggest team or having the biggest budget, she could still do the girls in the audience proud, as she once again took the racing victory, backing up her strong run the night before.
The night of repeats continued as Tack once again would put the new Lucas Oil Bigfoot atop the standings and take the freestyle crown, giving him three victories on the weekend.
After one final pit party, the final show of the weekend would kick off at 7:30. The final event could be summed up in two words: Rams Rumble.
In the opening wheelie contest, Hall would once more showcase he could make the new chassis stand tall. The donut contest would again be won by his teammate, and winner on Friday night, Dishman, showing off the newly-buffed Michelin monster tires could grip the concrete. The long jump contest was no contest, as it was Hall making a complete sweep on the weekend.
Unfortunately, Savage was unable to make it a sweep in competition in Heartbreaker, as Tack would get his final trophy of the weekend in taking the racing victory.
But when it came to freestyle, no one was stopping Hall as his final run of the weekend saw him take the freestyle win, and in essence becoming the overall winner of the first round of Monster Nationals competition. Of the 15 different rounds of action over the first two days, Hall took home eight trophies. Meanwhile, Tack has four victories of his own, meaning the next three events will be extremely important for both teams.
Those next three events happen all next weekend with the tour now heading to Madison, Wisconsin, and the Alliant Energy Center.
For tickets, line-ups and all information involving the "Monster Nite Out" Tour, visit both FamilyEvents.com and MonsterNationals.com.