The folks that work for Family Events and put on the 4-Wheel Jamboree series seem to have an extra spring in their step when the summer event on the schedule comes around. From the folks selling the tickets to the competitors and the officials alike, there is a lot of joy when the series makes the trip to the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
All the fans that were waiting to get in the gates were not disappointed. Sunny skies and thousands of vehicles welcomed the crowds to the A&A Auto Stores 4-Wheel Jamboree. Family Events knew that the people would appreciate the great weather, and in return they were prepared to give them a great day, and weekend, of activities.
Those fans would get the cherry on top of the sundae in the evening when the General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags took to the infield, and the Family Events folks loaded up with the biggest and hardest-charging drivers and trucks they could get.
The Hall Brothers were ready to go with Mat Dishman, at the helm of Rammunition, and Mark Hall at the wheel of the Raminator, which for this show was an all-new chassis, the third event on the truck since it was built. Team Scream was set to go to battle with the Koehler brothers, Jim and Steve, at the wheel of the Avenger and The General. The PA-born fans also had a native driver to cheer on, and he has become a strong competitor against the alcohol-fueled machines on the circuit. Dave Radzierez was loaded to the fullest in the XDP Diesel.
And then there was Bigfoot, who brought out three trucks for this year’s show.
Josh Gibson was at the wheel of the classic 1974 Retro Bigfoot, his first season with the jamboree, while Larry Swim carried the Lucas Oil colors on his truck. Finally, Bloomsburg and Bigfoot favorite Dan Runte would roll out the new #21 Summit Bigfoot for action, but not in the usual colors. Just like previous jamboree in Lima, Ohio, fans got to vote for how his truck would look for this particular weekend. Of the three new options given, fans decided to put Runte back behind the wheel of the look that put him on the map, and saw him win his first championship with the team.
His truck for this weekend only would be the Summit “Power Wheels” Bigfoot, sporting a glossy black paint scheme with a pearl white, yellow and orange flame design to accent.
The track crew elected for this season to give Bloomsburg a layout they had not seen in over a decade, while also providing some new challenges when it was time to show off. The race course would be a Chicago-style design, starting with a two-car jump, followed by a small roller, and then after the first corner, a table top that led to the second two-car jump. It would see a repeat as the trucks would hit the final straightaway, finishing on the original two-car jump.
All the fans filed in with the sun beaming down on everyone, and right away the action was intense among the eight-truck field.
On one side of the bracket, Runte was having a strong showing in his beast of a truck, taking down Steve Koehler in the General, then Radzierez to make the finals. On the opposite side, teammate Swim had a tougher challenge as he would take out his teammate, Gibson, and Hall to make it to his second final of the year. It would actually be the second final for both Foot drivers, as in Lima the heavy rain over the latter part of the weekend prevented any racing occur.
When the trucks came out of the final corner, it was Swim that poured on the power, launching over the final ramp and taking the opening round win in Bloomsburg.
FRIDAY NIGHT RESULTS:
- Round 1: XDP def. Avenger; Summit Bigfoot def. The General; Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Retro Bigfoot; Raminator def. Rammunition
- Semi-Finals: Summit Bigfoot def. XDP; Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Raminator
- Finals: Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Summit Bigfoot
When it came time to freestyle, it did not take long for things to break. On the very first hit in the very first run, Dishman broke the knuckle off his red Ram. The locking braces that the Hall Bros. team developed kept the wheel from breaking completely off, but it would end up being a theme on the night.
After a very successful run by Gibson, Radzierez in the XDP Diesel would keep a lot of momentum going, but on one hit on the launch stack, the front tie-rod broke loose. After pulling off the side of the track, the PA-native simply laughed it off, because it was just the start of the weekend.
Runte, Steve Koehler and Hall each had strong runs. Swim then came out to try and follow up his racing win, and had a good run going, but then cut the truck off before hitting the jammer stack. When officials talked to him at the stage, he motioned that he lost oil pressure, and rather than risk causing a major fix for the team, he saved equipment, allowing it to be towed off after the show.
Even “Mr. Excitement” Jim Koehler saw issues as he would see smoke come from his engine compartment at higher RPM’s. In the end, the fans gave the winning vote to Gibson, who kept up the best momentum and whipped off the best donuts in the evening dew, and do so without breaking parts.
Saturday’s action at the fairgrounds is highlighted by two monster programs. The afternoon event will have both racing and freestyle, beginning at Noon, while at night it is a Monster Celebration, with all freestyle action that is culminated in a fireworks blowout. Tickets are available at the gate, and visit 4WheelJamboree.com for all the highlights of the early action at the fairgrounds.
STANDINGS FOLLOWING BLOOMSBURG, ROUND 1:
40 Points for each round. Racing winner gets additional 40 points.
- Summit Bigfoot, Dan Runte: 280**
- Lucas Oil Bigfoot, Larry Swim: 280*
- Raminator, Mark Hall: 160
- Avenger, Jim Koehler: 120**
- XDP, Dave Radzierez: 120
- Retro Bigfoot, Josh Gibson: 80
- Rammunition, Mat Dishman: 80
- The General, Steve Koehler: 80