Photo Credit: Jeff Luckey
When the 2013 tour for the 4-Wheel Jamboree ended, a familiar champion took the racing title, and a diesel would lay claim in freestyle. At the same time, the anticipation for the next season would already be building up. A long, very cold winter, made the wait for the opening weekend that much longer. Even though Family Events held their indoor tour, the jamboree campaign is what put this promotion company on the map.
With a nine truck line-up slated for this season, fans and competing teams were ready for what could be yet another intensely incredible year of action.
Just like a year ago, the jamboree season would open up north at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio. What wasn't exactly expected was what Mother Nature had in store for the first day. It's not uncommon for the Lima area to see some rain, but last year when they were made the opening site compared to years past, it was done in the hopes that the wet weather would stay away. In a way it did, as the rain came early in the week, avoiding the opening day of the weekend. Cloudy skies did remain, but what threw many fans and the teams for a bit of a loop was the temperatures. In what is normally saved for late winter or early spring, the opening day brought morning temperatures of the mid-30's. Thick coats, hoodies, and gloves were the name of the game to kick off this year's jamboree.
The nine-truck lineup were all prepared for the new season, with last year's champions ready to defend their titles. Racing champion Mark Hall already has a Family Events championship to his name, winning the winter Monster Nationals tour in the newly redesigned Raminator. At the same time, Dave Radzierez was ready to go even bigger in the XDP Diesel, which over the winter got some more strength built into the chassis and more boost added to the Cummins powerplant.
Seven other trucks were ready to do battle in the infield, as Hall's teammates of Mat Dishman and Mike Miller were ready to go in the Rammunition and Mopar Muscle entries, plus Team Bigfoot brought out two trucks for the season, as Larry Swim and Dan Runte were ready to go reclaim the championship. Team Scream also returned with the Koehler boys of Jim and Steve, piloting the Avenger and General Tire entries. Finally, the newest member of the jamboree tour, Randy Moore, looked ready to go wicked in his War Wizard Willy's coupe.
Fans braved the cool temperatures all day long to see their favorite trucks take to the track for the first time all year long.
What they got in the end was a familiar truck coming to victory lane, but a new driver doing so. During the winter tour, the Lucas Oil Bigfoot debuted with the Ford Raptor body, but the driver during the indoor Monster Nationals season was Eric Tack, who was no stranger to indoor events having driven for Bigfoot full-time for over a decade. In recent years, he's been the one called to take over for part of the year, or sometimes to fill in for injury. When the Lucas Oil Bigfoot came to the jamboree tour, in an ironic twist, it was the driver Tack filled in for a couple years ago, that took over the ride.
Larry Swim is no stranger to the jamborees, having competed at the Indianapolis jamboree the last two seasons plus competing at Lima a few years ago at the wheel of Snake Bite, but this would be his first time competing for the entire year with the jamboree tour.
His Bigfoot #19, the lone truck in the Foot fleet that is powered by a Chevrolet, would still adorn the Raptor body, and Swim has shown that he is more than capable of getting the job done in the low stance, CRD designed truck.
In the final round of competition for the day, he would square off against Hall in the Raminator. The muddy infield got worse with each passing round, as has been common in Lima over the last few years. Both trucks were ready to go, and looked forward to the first of what is surely to be many Bigfoot-Hall Brothers matchups on the season.
Each driver was unrelenting despite conditions, but at the end of the run, it would be the "Bad Boy" of Team Bigfoot putting his name in victory lane.
Swim would power the red, white and blue machine to victory to open the 2014 campaign.
To end the night, he would come back to the Lima infield and put together a classic freestyle that only he is capable of doing. But it was still not enough for that victory, as Hall would take his brand new piece out in front of the Lima fans and show that when his truck performs outdoors, the HEMI-powered Ram Heavy Duty would be a tough contender to beat in freestyle as well. He would finish the night taking home the freestyle victory in the fans' eyes.
It was just the tip of the iceberg for the opening weekend of the 4-Wheel Jamboree tour. There are still two days left of competition, with three monster truck events left on the docket. Saturday's action for the monster trucks will feature two shows, with the first happening at 1:30 p.m. and the day's festivities ending with the second show at 6 p.m.
For the schedule of all the other events on the weekend, including tough trucks, mud bogs and special concerts, visit 4WheelJamboree.com, and also follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@4WheelJamboree), and on Facebook for all the updates over the remainder of the weekend.