Forever Home…words a husband and wife, their kids, and family all eventually want to have. A place that they know exactly where they will grow up, make memories, and never have to leave. Families long to have that, and once it is achieved, everyone knows where it is, and sometimes once they have passed on, it’s hard to even fathom someone else being there.
From a personal standpoint, once my great grandmother died, my grandfather simply couldn’t see anyone else living in that home. My aunt lived next door to that familiar home for what seems like an eternity, and for her another individual living in it that wasn’t exactly family just wouldn’t feel right.
Now, that property has no home, after being torn down and instead is her forever home in Heaven.
So what does this personal connection, and the term “Forever Home” have to do with motorsports and this individual. Well, for the last decade, the monster truck industry that I have loved, and spent a lot of time being involved with, had a home in the Kruse Plaza in Auburn, Indiana. The problem wasn’t the building itself, nor the Kruse Family. Both have been quite adequate for the needs of the industry over the years. But, in the last few, it has seemed as though it has grown beyond what the walls could hold.
Newly rebuilt or resurrected pieces keep showing up each year, and the one time during the season that the entire monster truck family, new and old, come together keeps growing in size.
It was becoming evident that a new place was in need, and International Monster Truck Museum and Hall of Fame President, Jeff Cook, could see things were getting to that point. As luck would have it, during one of the local events in a nearby town, suddenly the surprise came that perhaps something could be worked out.
Apparently the building was in the right location, the size appeared to be just right, and Cook could see the potential.
It was perfect, a place that could truly be the “Forever Home” to the Hall of Fame, a place where the old-school monster trucks don’t have to share space with other famous vehicles like the Batmobile, the Knight Rider, or even be alongside many war memorials from as far back as the Civil War, Vietnam, or Desert Storm. All that the building will house is original pieces of monster truck history, from the 48-inch tire that began the craze, to driver suits and crew shirts, models and reproductions, and finally the classic trucks from back in the day. Classic trucks like Goliath, King Kong, Equalizer, and the recent additions of Terminator, Taurus III, Bear Foot, and now the newly restored Hercules Chevrolet.
Everything came together at the right time, with the right people, and thanks to a lot of help, the down payment is in, and the Hall of Fame officially has it’s permanent home.
Over the last weekend it was unveiled that Butler, Indiana, which is not far from the Kruze Plaza located in Auburn, Indiana, is now the new location for the Museum and Hall of Fame. With a lot more space to put the trucks, and all the memorabilia, plus a lot of room for people to walk around, it just fit exactly what the industry has been longing for. Add to that, having a Hall of Fame weekend in an area that can allow the monster truck family to walk around, see everyone, and not feel crammed in is certainly a major plus.
According to Cook, and Secretary Ross Bonar, the move into the new museum is planning to have a move-in come early spring. But long before that, a lot of work is going to need done according to both Bonar and Cook.
“The big work is getting ready to start,” Bonar said on Saturday during the International Monster Truck Museum and Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “You have to say a big thanks to Jeff and all the volunteers…they are going to do an incredible amount of work to this facility to get it ready.”
Cook followed by acknowledging one of the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame, saying “Scott Hess is going to head up the remodeling group. That’s what his history is in, the house building business, so we already said, ‘Scott, you know more about building than the rest of us, so this is your project.’
“But in the spring, we are planning to do a big ‘Monsters Invade Butler’ parade, getting us moved here.”
Currently, the hopeful plan is to have the parade and move-in come in early April, after the seasons change, but that is only part of the move into the new building. Cook also is hopeful that in May or June, the official Grand Opening and Open House for the new Hall of Fame and Museum will take place.
However, the one request that has been constant with the Hall of Fame and Museum from the time in the Kruze Plaza is continuing to the new home in that in order to make this take place, donating to the cause is asked. The Hall of Fame ceremony is normally the only time a year that money is raised to ensure the museum continues to exist. But, with the pandemic stealing away an opportunity for the monster community to get together and raise funds, it has been a hard year to have funding flow in.
The Museum has started a newsletter that is a yearly fee to stay in the know for the museum and also find out information on the new home. But now, with a new building needing renovations and costs to transform it into the be-all destination for monster truck enthusiasts, any donations will be put towards the renovations and move-in for the new building.
Those that want to donate any amount, visit MonsterMuseum.org/Donate to send in your contribution. All donations are potentially tax deductible.
Many of the current fans may not understand that the monster truck industry has not always been one where soaring through the air, walking on the nose, and backflips have been the norm. These trucks have not always been tubular machines that can take an impact and somehow be rebuilt in a week’s time to do it all over again. New fans get a chance to see the older trucks, as they were, back in the day. Stock frames that have been beefed up, or square-frame race trucks that were used in early days of racing, are what the museum is notable for holding onto.
Now, permanently, the Hall of Fame has a true homestead that they can call their own.
As Bonar said on Saturday night’s video, “Baseball has Cooperstown, New York; Football has Canton, Ohio. NASCAR has Charlotte, North Carolina. And fans, monster trucks has Butler, Indiana.”
Keep watching both Facebook, Instagram, and the Hall of Fame’s YouTube channel for updates on not just the move-in and grand opening, but potentially the 2021 Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the new Butler, Indiana, location.