It would be a weekend full of major stadiums and arenas for Monster Jam's best, spanning each corner of the country. The four biggest events would be in Detroit, San Antonio, Houston and Anaheim.
For the most part, the weekend would be dominated by the familiar names at the top of the list. But, one man stamped his ticket to being among the best, as he beat the biggest dogs in the yard to take his first major win.
Donald Epidendio brought out his Titan Chevrolet, set on a new Patrick Enterprises chassis, and stunned the entire field in Anaheim, California. Last year, the second-year driver made the inaugural Young Guns Shootout in Las Vegas, showing he was capable of competing on the big stage. But after being knocked out in the first round, it would make for a long night.
It wasn't the case this year as Epidendio took to the unique "So-Cal" style race track, which involved a huge table top for the starting line, three unique corners and a long leap to the finish, and showed his new truck is among the best built.
After taking out Obsession in the first round, he matched up with Tom Meents in his 10-year edition Max-D. But in the biggest upset of the night, it would be Meents on the sidelines. Epidendio then took out former world champion Charlie Pauken in Grave Digger in the semi-final, before setting up a showdown with the youngest world champion in Monster Jam, Adam Anderson in Grave Digger the Legend.
Both were smooth all night long, but Epidendio stunned the field by capturing his first and perhaps biggest trophy of his young career. Maybe a sign of things to come as he vowed afterward to make the World Finals, the big event, in 2013.
Not to be outdone, the younger Anderson took home the freestyle title in Anaheim, one of many wins by the Anderson family over the course of the weekend.
Inside Reliant Stadium while the Houston Texans traveled to New England for a chance to be in the AFC Championship, many of the big names came to Texas to give the crowd a taste of what they had to miss last week when Houston was victorious on the turf.
After losing in the finals to Linsey Weenk in the Lucas Oil Crusader, the leader of the Digger faction, Dennis Anderson, ended the evening with a freestyle that is simply classic. He filled the regulation time, then ended his bonus time with a monster leap across the floor. The truck cased the landing, sending it nose-first into the clay.
But the truck did a complete front roll, and it landed back on it's wheels. Anderson parked the truck next to the stage, taking in the standing ovation from his Texas fans.
The third weekend of the new season will see the most major stadium events, as five huge venues will get the experience of Monster Jam, some for the second time. Two days of events will take place in Toronto, as the Maple Leaf Tour has it's biggest event. Houston will host a second-straight event, unless the Texans defeat the Patriots and then host the AFC Championship. The Metrodome will host it's second event of the new season, while San Diego continues a western swing for the trucks. Finally, Tampa Bay gets it's first taste of Monster Jam for 2013 as not one, but two, Andersons come to town along with Meents.
Tickets and info for every event through the end of the first quarter of action are at MonsterJam.com.