Monster Jam throws monster party at Rose Garden

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam held three shows in Portland over the weekend and the drivers controlling the giant-tired 10,000-pound trucks gave their fans plenty to cheer about.

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam held three shows in Portland over the weekend and the drivers controlling the giant-tired 10,000-pound trucks gave their fans plenty to cheer about.

Each Monster Jam show consists of a wheelie competition, a racing event, a freestyle showdown and many other adrenaline-injected exhibitions and car-crushing displays.

“I always have a good time at the Monster Jam shows,” said Dan Porter, a monster-truck enthusiast who was taking his three-year-old son Elliot to his first show. “It’s a fun family event, and I can remember my dad bringing me to shows like this when I was younger.”

Fans who attended the Saturday afternoon show were treated to a thrilling wheelie contest by the eight trucks in attendance this past weekend: Western Renegade, Obsessed, Blue Thunder, Obsession, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, Grave Digger, Captain USA and Grave Digger Legend.

Judges for the wheelie contest rated the leaping trucks on height, vertical angle and the distance the trucks jumped across the row of crushed cars.

Driver Tony Farrell of the classically designed Grave Digger Legend jumped his truck into a vertical position, nearly tipping over the 12-foot-high beast onto its side before recovering and kicking up a cloud of dirt to the roar of the fans. However, it was Chad Tingler behind the wheel of Grave Digger that won the wheelie contest with a perfectly executed jump that saw him land the truck onto its back bumper before smoothly returning all four tires to the ground.

In the racing tournament, Charles Benns pushed his truck Monster Mutt Rottweiler to the limit as he out-raced seven other drivers in the bracket. Drivers went head-to-head in a tournament-style competition, the supercharged, 2000-horsepower trucks speeding across the dirt-filled ground of the Rose Garden Arena, jumping over a row of cars, and gunning past the finish line.

“It’s pretty crazy how fast those trucks can get going,” Porter said.

Grave Digger, Blue Thunder, Obsession and Monster Mutt Rottweiler all advanced into the semifinal round, but it would be Monster Mutt and Grave Digger who would end up facing off in a thrilling last race. After a photo-finish victory, Benns dedicated his win—and more importantly, his winnings—to a boy named Austin at the Portland Children’s Hospital. Benns routinely donates 100 percent of his Monster Jam profit to charity, working mainly with different children’s hospitals around the country and Locks of Love, an organization that assists young chemotherapy patients.

“When you get to see an awesome show and you’re helping out the world, it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Paul Eisl, a recent Portland State graduate and monster truck fan.

In the night’s main attraction, Grave Digger Legend would steal the show again, getting a score of 27 for three impressive freestyle runs. Although many of the drivers put on exciting exhibitions during the freestyle competition, it was Farrell who would blow the roof off the Rose Garden with a reverse jump as he sent Grave Digger Legend soaring backwards over the row of crushed cars.

“It was one of the coolest thing I’ve ever seen at a Monster Truck show,” Eisl said.

The Monster Jam weekend was filled with memorable moments, including four-wheel racing, dirt-bike exhibitions, and an unforgettable wheelie that caused Captain USA to land upside down and lose the front end of his truck. And, of course, the fire-breathing, car-consuming Robosaurus made an appearance.

“The dinosaur was scary,” three-year-old Elliot Porter said. “My [favorite part] was when the dinosaur ate the cars.” ?