The final day of the Bloomsburg Jamboree is a day where it’s still a celebration of the 4×4 and how much they are loved by their owners, but it’s also the “go home” show for teams and fans. Some fans have to leave to get ready for the beginning of the work week, but for many of those fans, that thought comes late Sunday evening.
The teams of the General Tire Thunder Drags also enjoy the final show of the weekend since there’s no need to be kind to the equipment, knowing they have a short period of time to replace parts and adjust setups.
When the show ends on Sundays, it means the next event isn’t for at minimum five days. The final show of the weekend allows teams to let everything hang out, and kick up dust knowing what needs done is simply loading in the trailer to go home.
At 3 p.m. on Sunday, the fans of the 4-Wheel Jamboree clamored to the grandstands, looking out to a sun-soaked infield, not a cloud in the sky for miles, ready to see what will happen for the final racing program of the weekend. The focus came right onto the two-time defending champion of the Thunder Drags, Larry Swim in the Lucas Oil Bigfoot. Friday evening was victory number one. Saturday evening…victory number two.
No driver has swept racing in two consecutive seasons at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds in the history of the event, and Swim was looking to do so. His streak entering Sunday was perfect since last season, winning all 15 rounds of racing. Dating back to 2015, his first jamboree title season, Swim has gone an impressive 22-for-23 in racing at the fairgrounds.
However, his arch enemy has been so close to beating him all weekend, it took a photo finish verification on one of the races to see how close it was.
Vinny Venom has been just behind getting the Snake Bite machine into victory lane, but the man in the mask was not giving in that easy. One more opportunity awaited to take down the original monster truck team.
Swim did his part, taking out Pennsylvania’s Zane Rettew in Stinger, then Dale Gerding in General Tire.
The opposite side of the bracket favored Venom, who took out the Tail Gator of Doug Noelke, and then JR Seasock in Master of Disaster. Three different days, but the same final takes place once again. Venom, however, was in the near lane for this day, putting Swim in the opposite lane for the first time in their one-on-one meetings.
Fans stood up. Swim pulled into the lights. Venom then pulled to the line.
3…2…1…GREEN. Each driver left the line hard, hitting the first hill nearly even. Both pulled out of the hole for the final jump and still kept it close. The final jump was once again so close to call, it meant having to go to timing to see who made it across the line first.
When the winner was announced, the streak…ended.
After 17 consecutive wins, Swim’s effort to be perfect on the weekend fell just a few inches short, and it was Venom that was celebrating back in the pits with his first victory at Bloomsburg, and the first time since 1997 that the Snake Bite truck saw victory at the fairgrounds. On this day, it was certainly time to “Fear the Fangs.”
- Round 1: Bigfoot def. Stinger; General Tire def. Master of Disaster; Snake Bite def. Tail Gator
- Semi-Finals: Bigfoot def. General Tire; Snake Bite def. Master of Disaster
- Finals: Snake Bite def. Bigfoot
The time came for every truck to let loose for freestyle, and let loose came at a price right away. Rettew brought out the Stinger Raptor for the first time since replacing the blown transmission from the previous night, and pushed hard, then harder, to the point where smoke was pulsing out the back of the truck. His run came to an end with the crowd roaring, but then a fire coming out under the truck right at the transmission.
Although it went out, he was shut off approaching the pits, looking as though the transmission had leaked fluid and caught fire. A spooky moment that could’ve led to more problems.
Gerding had his run cut short when the tie rod on the back axle snapped on his General Tire machine, but then it was Noelke making an impact with a picturesque run. A pair of wheelies, donuts, and some high sails of the Gator put Noelke in the lead with three trucks remaining.
It wasn’t until Swim came to the track after Seasock that things began heating up. Although he wasn’t able to nail a wheelie, the Bigfoot Raptor was roaring, but then began sputtering.
Although sounding like there was a slip of the transmission, as if it was going out of gear, it turned out that the transmission was not the problem. Swim spoke afterwards about it.
“Yeah it’s one of those gremlins. What happened was the RII connection to the battery kept disconnecting. It would plug in, then go out, and cut the power. It’s a tough deal, but was a great weekend overall,” he said.
Venom was the truck that had the honor of closing out the weekend, and he was leaving everything he had on the infield.
Although for him, that is as literal a sentence as he can get. During his run, the left rear panel decided to come lose from the mounts, exactly like a season ago, and one more hit saw the fiberglass land on the grass. But still, Venom kept roaring to the crowd, even cutting a donut near the grandstands, and also showcasing his skills as a flat-track driver, drifting the snake around the first and second turns like a late model.
It was an amazing run, and it was enough to capture the sweep of the day, and sending the fans home with a sign of the Snake in victory.
With that, another amazing weekend of jamboree action came to a close. Now, the wait for the finale.
It will not be until the middle of September when the jamboree season hosts the final event of the season, and it is the biggest one of the year, because it happens at the home of the Family Events company.
September 15-17 is when the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree descends on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, for it’s 31st year. It is a show that will see the jamboree debut of a pair of trucks that have made a huge impression on the Toughest Monster Truck Tour. Along with Tail Gator, General Tire, Bigfoot and Snake Bite, it will be Jerry Beck with his monster dump truck, Dirt Crew, and “Big Air” Aaron Cain with his monster ATV, Quad Chaos.
Tickets are already available, along with early bird registration, on 4WheelJamboree.com. It will come right down to the wire for both championships, and will surely be an event to remember.
POINT STANDINGS (5 of 8 Events)
Event Wins in Brackets
- Bigfoot 680 
- Snake Bite 640 
- Tail Gator 400 
- Stinger 320
- Master of Disaster 280
- General Tire 280
- Bigfoot – 3
- Snake Bite – 2
- Stinger – 1
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
- Emily Boden, Leah Burdette-Family Events media relations
- Paul Monroe-Safety and Technical Director
- Lee Collins, Eric Blackwell-Family Events track crew
- Jeff Luckey-Luckey Photography
- Katelin White-Katelin White Photography
- Doc Riley-Family Events track announcer
- Brenda, Doug and Pops Noelke, Dale Gerding-Big Dawg 4×4
- Larry Swim, Penny Chandler Lopez-Bigfoot 4×4
- Vinny Venom-Snake Bite LLC
- Zane and Lindsay Rettew, JR Seasock-Rettew Motorsports
AND SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST:
- My loving girlfriend, Amanda, for supporting me in all I do for this industry.