Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 9, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Much to the delight of the 3,000 plus fans in the building and most likely to the chagrin of some of the neighbours in the vicinity of Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, the Monster X Tour, featuring six, high-powered and noisy monster trucks, including the legendary Bigfoot and Skeletor, arrived Saturday for a pair of Victoria performances.
Monster truck Rock Star, performs in the freestyle event at the Monster X Tour Saturday in Victoria (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
While the large vehicles and monster truck show have made an appearance before at SOFC, Saturday marked the first time ever that the arena floor has been covered in dirt for the event. After the floor and many of the first ten or so rows of the seats were covered in plastic, over five dump-truck loads of dirt were brought in and spread out to provide the driving surface for event.
Over five truckloads of dirt were brought into Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena to transform it into the Monster X Tour venue. This was the first time ever the arena floor was covered in this manner for an event (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The monster trucks performing in Victoria are well known to followers of the sport and included Canadian Tough Guy, Identity Theft, Rock Star, California Kid and the legendary Skeletor and Bigfoot, the latter, a truck that was one of the originals in the sport, first making its appearance in 1975, over 40 years ago.
The legendary Skeletor didn’t win any of the events Saturday but it wins design and paint job of the year award for sure (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
As to the event itself, after a bit of a slow start because of introductions (a spotlight on the drivers would have been handy), promotional videos and some other logistical things, the trucks began their “competition” with the first half consisting of a wheelie race – where the trucks roll over the lines of crushed cars, trying to get their front tires as high as possible as they do so – and then a simple speed competition, perhaps the shortest drag race in history, given the confines of a 200 foot long hockey rink.
Skeletor (left) and Canadian Tuff Guy (right) participate in the speed race Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The excitement level then picked up considerably, as the trucks took a quick break and motocross drivers Jeff Banks and Taylor Hunt thrilled the crowd with some spectacular freestyle jumps, rising well above the arena floor and landing on a ramp that took them out the Zamboni entrance of the arena and under the stands. Both riders showed their X-Games like prowess, performing some crazy and death-defying moves while in the air.
The legendary Bigfoot catches some big air during the freestyle performance on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
A brief intermission followed so that the motorcycle ramps could be cleared, the dirt smoothed and a few more new wrecked cars added to the car crushing zones and then the stars of the evening reappeared for the “freestyle” competition, the event that everyone in the stands was waiting eagerly for.
Motocross rider Jeff Banks thrills the crowd with one of his freestyle tricks at the#Monster X Tour at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Rider Taylor Hunt soars well above the crowd during the motocross freestyle segment of Saturday’s show (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In this event, each monster truck – with the exception of Identity Theft, who had a mechanical issue – had the chance to roll over the crushed cars a number of times, trying to do so in ways that were unique and different from the other competitors. It was a loud, earth-shattering, arena-shaking performance (fortunately fans were warned to bring ear protection and ear plugs were made available to others including media and photographers) that sent everyone home happy.
Canadian Tuff Guy during the freestyle event Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Despite some mechanical issues, Identity Theft made a brief run during the freestyle event Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
As to the “winners,” Rock Star was the winner of the wheelie race, while Bigfoot took home first in the drag race. Rock Star, and driver Bill Payne of Port Orchard, Washington, was also the clear winner in the freestyle event, thrilling the crowd with a number of high speed passes over the car crushing zone, catching big air and performing his trademark trick of driving over the cars on just two wheels.
The California Kid (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Rock Star dazzled the crowd during the freestyle competition Saturday, easily winning the event with big air such as this (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For those that missed the show Saturday, a second performance is taking place Sunday at 2:00 pm. Skip the football and head out and watch something unique, but be sure to bring your ear plugs!