Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 257 - Attending a Monster Truck Show

I have never been to a monster truck show. In fact, I don’t think I have had an interest in attending a monster truck show since I was a child. Like any typical boy, the idea of bug trucks crushing cars was exciting and incredible in my youth, but any desire I had to experience monster trucks firsthand faded quickly as I approached my first decade of life. As a result, I never sought to gain the experience of seeing monster trucks in person, and I had no intention of making it a part of my year of new experiences. Roaring engines, the smell of burning fuel, and the concept of “car-crushing fun” just weren’t for me, and I was fine with that.

That stated, when I became aware of a monster truck show coming to Madison early this year I started kicking around the idea of attending the event simply for the sake of taking in something outside of my normal scope of experiences. I figured it was a possibility for something new if I really needed it, but I wasn’t making plans to attend the event as a first choice. However, the perspective changed at a family gathering around the holiday season where I told my Brother, Abe, I was thinking about going to the show. The idea caused his face to light up with an obvious feeling of excitement akin to the response the idea of monster trucks would inspire in our youth. Eyes wide, Abe fired off a response before I could fully finish my sentence. “Yes! Let’s do it. You’re not doing anything else that day. We are going to monster trucks!”

Here we go...

His enthusiasm at the idea of attending the show was hard to ignore, and although I knew attending a monster truck show wasn’t high on my list of priorities for new experiences, I knew attending the show with my Brother would produce a memorable experience. As a result, I committed on the spot to going to the monster truck show with my Brother, promising him I would pick up a pair of tickets for the both of us to attend the show scheduled for this evening. Hours later, the tickets were purchased, the calendar was booked, and Abe and I were locked in for an event we both knew would stick with us for some time.


The weeks passed quickly leading up to the event, which culminated with Abe and I finding our way to the Alliant Energy Center Colesium this evening to make good on our plans to see a monster truck show for the first time. Although part of me expected an experience of little noteworthiness to come from the event, it was clear an undertone of boyish jubilance had snagged both Abe and me. We were our normal foolish selves as we do in one another’s company, but an unexpected feeling of excitement took hold as we walked toward the arena’s front doors. Much to my surprise, I was looking forward to the monster truck show.

Entering the Colesium, Abe and I stopped dead in our tracks at the sight of five massive trucks parked around two rows of junkyard vehicles lining the concrete floor at the center of the space. At over ten feet tall, the monster trucks were an impressive sight, which made the scope of the vehicles real for the very first time. In awe, Abe and I kept our eyes fixed on the wreath of trucks as we located our seats in the building. As we settled in we talked about the forthcoming experience in anticipation, wondering to what extent the indoor event would make use of the limited floor space. There was no question we were ready for the event to begin, even though we still didn’t know exactly what to expect.

Ready to rock... WOO!


A few minutes later the lights fell and an announcer bellowed a welcome to the crowd. Continuing, the announcer called out the competitors one by one, who each crawled into their respective trucks and prepared for the event to begin. Then, at the call of the announcer the five drivers started up their monster trucks, sending a ripple of roaring sound through the arena. The power of the engines was enough to send tremors through the floor and into our bodies. The feeling was equally shocking and impressive, which set the tone for the action that was about to come. As the trucks moved to one end of the arena floor and reversed into a stacked line the show was ready to begin, and it was clear the trucks were about to make short work of the two rows of sedans lining the arena floor.

Over the next hour the trucks took to the floor one at a time compete in wheelie competitions, compete in making donuts with their car tires, compete in long-jump contests over the crushed vehicles, and rally in a freestyle contest over the littered remains of the sedans. Although the show offered a few points of excitement during some specific passes by the drivers, Abe and I quickly found the show of flare and power wearing thin as the performance progressed. The approach of the show had one driver start up his car, take to the performance area for a few passes over the cars, and return to his designated parking space. The result was a disjointed performance that offered seconds of excitement between minutes of transition between drivers and events. To my dismay, the monster truck show was quickly becoming a letdown for both Abe and I. As a result, we quickly came to a decision we needed to act to make the most of the rest of our time at the event.

Long jump!

Head to head!

In turn, Abe and I decided to move to a less occupied part of the arena after taking a break to grab some food and a few drinks. Once settled into our new seats, we began cracking jokes about the performance happening on the floor beneath us and did our best to act out every stereotypical behavior of an American monster truck fanatic. The result was a mix of celebratory calls, southern drawls, and mildly inappropriate remarks about the monster truck action. Although our behavior drew a few looks from individuals sitting nearest to our location, the humor carried the two of us through to the end of the show, which came with a final showing of vehicular force from the declared winner and a few parting shots from our isolated location in the third tier of seating.

A deep breath of fuel vapors

The victor

Although the prospect of tonight’s experience stirred some unexpected excitement, the monster truck show left plenty to be desired. Thankfully, Abe and I saw the opportunity to make the night great with a little ridiculousness, which took what would have been a disappointment and made it into a memorable experience. As a result, I know our experience at the monster truck show will be a story we will carry with us for some time, and the action of seeing trucks crush cars will always be secondary to the laughs we shared and the looks we drew from some of the attendees. Sure, our behavior may have been a bit childish, but at an event that evokes feelings lost in my youth that just seemed to fit tonight’s experience. Adding in the fact that most of the looks we received from others were coming from a smiling face, I feel quite good about making the most of an otherwise mediocre experience. There is no question tonight ended up being more about spending time and cracking jokes with my Brother than it was about monster trucks. That’s better than anything I could have expected from the monster truck performance alone, and it made tonight’s new experience one I’m glad I decided to discover.


  1. It doesn't matter if the event wasn't as enjoyable as you thought it would be, as long as you and Abe had fun, regardless of the disinterest, then it's all good. I'm just glad you had the time to experience going to a monster truck show. Thanks for sharing that, Caleb. Take care! :)

    Bradford Oliver @ Lacustoms Performance Products

  2. Don't worry about it! Monster truck shows aren't everybody's cup of tea. It's totally understandable if you found the experience a bit bland. I'm actually just glad you decided to give it another chance, even though you found yourself relcutant of the sport itself. You still provided your readers a great read, nonetheless. Thanks for sharing that! All the best! :)

    Levi Warner @ Utility Fleet