The back-to-back weekends of competition are rare for the Monster Nationals, but it provides a challenge for the teams to get any repairs made in a short amount of time. Broken parts, tightening bolts, and checking over every important part of the truck becomes a big priority when the next show is only a week away.
When Saturday night rolled around, the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb, Illinois, was preparing for a one-night only performance and the fans that came out were ready.
Each of the trucks had a unique way of entering the arena, as the entrance was above the floor, and there were no ramps to let the machines get down the rows of seats that were pulled back to make for the necessary room. So, thanks to the local towing company that provided the metal to be crushed, they brought in their heavy duty tow truck, locked on some strong tow straps, and actually lifted and lowered the 10,000-pound machines onto the floor of the arena.
After that, the only time the tow trucks needed to be used is if it meant towing the machines to the trailer because of breakage.
The fans turned out big for the pit party, and once they made it into their seats, it was time to get the night going. As always with the Monster Nationals, the fresh metal on the floor meant the wheelie contest would start things off.
Each truck would get two hits on the sets of cars, but the competition began seeing red, as in a red Super Snake. All year long Vinny Venom has been showing the new Snake Bite machine can compete with the veteran guard on the tour. He may be a rookie, but the young man in the mask has talent, and he showcased it by taking home the first win of the night.
In order to set the racing brackets, the drivers needed to qualify for position, with the top qualifier getting the automatic pass into the second round.
Thus far this season, Venom seemed to be finding his way to the top of the heap in making it to the pole position for racing. On this night, he would not follow up his wheelie victory, although a truck that had a similar look would. It has been clear that even though the season is headlined by Bigfoot vs. Snake Bite, along with the Hall Brothers trying to defend their title, Doug Noelke has been no slouch in the Tail Gator. To prove that, he would put his machine at the top of the board for when racing began.
At that point, Noelke began going on a tear.
Up next was the time to make some noise, and some smoke, as the donut contest always provided both. Already having a strong lead in the category, Noelke would add yet another to his list thanks to a donut that was screaming the tires, and without a steering wheel, thanks to a toss out the window onto the Convocation Center floor.
He then went for a three-peat and did just that by sailing the Gator across the floor in the long jump competition.
With him being the top seed for the racing bracket, the rest of the field was looking to finally end his reign on the night. That did happen as Noelke was knocked out in the semi-finals, but also set up a major showdown in the championship. Darron Schnell had the Bigfoot machine roaring to life and looked to take yet another victory on the season. Meanwhile, defending champion Mark Hall looked to sail the Ram Limited Raminator to victory, and celebrate in style as he was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife, June, on this night.
Unfortunately for him, Schnell really wasn’t in the mood to celebrate an anniversary, and ended the run of Hall by taking him down in the finals, and giving him the overall points lead in the standings.
To finish out the night, all five machines were ready to roar to life and show off for the fans. Twelve cars and one van lined the floor, along with all the room on the concrete for donuts and flat tracking, meaning it was time to let loose in freestyle.
He may not have won the racing bracket, but Hall was showing that the Ram can show off with the best of them. With smoke snorting out the ram head on the hood, and smoke billowing from the tires during donuts, he would use every inch of the floor to lock down the final win of the night. It may not be flowers or jewelry, but bringing home a gold trophy as an anniversary gift isn’t that bad either.
- Wheelie Competition: Vinny Venom, Snake Bite
- Fast Qualifier: Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
- Donut Contest: Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
- Long Jump: Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
- Racing Finals: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot, def. Mark Hall, Raminator
- Freestyle: Mark Hall, Raminator
The Monster Nationals has a little bit of a break until it’s next round of action, but that will set off a stretch of three consecutive weekends where the monsters will compete.
Up next is a trip to Corbin, Kentucky, to compete at the Corbin Arena. This show will only have four trucks in attendance, as sadly Noelke is unable to make the trip. However, despite only seeing four trucks, the action will still be intense.
Two shows are set up from February 19-20, each beginning at 7:30 p.m. with the pit party starting two hours before showtime. Get to MonsterNationals.com to get your tickets.