Saturday, February 14, 2009

Milk, Cookies & Monster Trucks

In hindsight, I feel a little bit bad that I thought that Monster Truck Jam (MTJ) would be a beer-swilling, confederate-flag-waving, mullet-wearing, boot-stomping, shit-kicking, good ol' boy redneck fest because it was as far from that as you can imagine (only 1 real mullet spotted during the entire evening). The accessory of choice last night was not an outdated hair style or a tramp stamp (although we spotted one of those too) or a bare midriff. No - the accessory of choice last night was a child. Yes - it seemed that children outnumbered adults 2 to 1 and MTJ was very much a family friendly affair. Although they did still sell beer. At least for the first half.

In all honesty - I had no idea what to expect. Did the monster trucks race each other? Crush each other? Were there teams? Who should I vote for? Was it scripted? Or real? Or some quasi hybrid scripted reality event (like American Idol or Hell's Kitchen or any other "reality" show on TV these days that has just enough reality but also has the requisite story lines to move the plot forward)?

As it turns out, MTJ is a little bit of all of those things. There were about 9 or 10 Monster Trucks - each one with it's own name/character and occasionally theme song. Predator. Prowler. Gunslinger. War Wizard. Cowboy. Bad News Travels Fast (the reporters I was with were a big fan). Monster Mutz (truck made to look like a dog complete with wagging tale) and every time he came out "Who Let The Dogs Out" would come on the speakers and everybody in the audience would "ruff ruff" right along with the Baha Men. Madusa - which my friend Sarah said: Madusa? Don't they mean - Medusa? To which I replied: Maybe it's Mad-USA. But no - it's Madusa (sounds like Medusa) and it's driven by a woman (woo-hoo). And then there is Gravedigger - the King of ALL Monster Trucks.

So here is my thought on Gravedigger. Gravedigger is the Dred Pirate Roberts of MTJ. Remember from Princess Bride? Dred Pirate Roberts is a name - a character. Many men have filled his shoes and as one becomes successful, he retires and he appoints a new man to become the next Dred Pirate Roberts. But the name and the legend live on and instill fear into all. So it is with Gravedigger. At least so I think. I suppose I could go to Gravedigger's website and read the history and confirm if this is right or wrong, but I won't. I have other things to do.

But suffice it to say that Gravedigger enters last. Always. He is to be feared. He is lethal. He will CRUSH you. He is....Bad to the Bone...Bad to the Bone...(hum guitar parts to yourself while reading...)

There are 3 parts to MTJ: Wheelies, Racing and Freestyle. Wheelies was first and probably my most favorite simply because I got what they were doing and you could tell if someone did it well or didn't do it well. Photos to be posted later but there were some pretty rocking wheelies. To keep it interesting (because I swear this shit is scripted to some degree), War Wizard dominated wheelies and won. So much for Bad to the Bone Gravedigger.

Next was racing - which I didn't quite get. Were the trucks trying to go farther or faster? I am not sure. But once again, after several rounds - War Wizard won handily. In fact - during his first "race" something "happened" to Gravedigger - a piece came off or something. The announcer sounded very serious and somber as he told the audience that Gravedigger was done for the night...unless the driver (Gary somebody or other - no I will NOT go the website and look it up) could work some special magic. This is where I turned to my MTJ companions - Sarah and Josh - and said: Betcha Gravedigger miraculously comes out in the end for a grand finale and wins the whole kit and caboodle. I mean - I have watched soap operas before. Story lines like this are easy to predict.

So after racing was a break (and the beer cut-off apparently) and then we came back to some motorcycle stunts - a family of 3 who rode motorcycles in a big metal ball and for some reason all I could think about was going to see Ringling Bros. as a kid because this was totally one of the acts.

And I will pause here to add in that speaking of motorcycles - in between each Monster Truck round there was what we fondly referred to as filler. Like breadcrumbs in crab cakes. The filler was motorcycle/motorcross/motorsomething (I really don't know which and in fact, they reminded me of the ATVs that Zack and the gang on Saved By The Bell - yes, I always can and always will make a SBTB reference when possible - raced the summer they worked at Lisa's parents' Beach Club) and these guys rode their motorvehicles around the track a few times and it wasn't particularly interesting - at least not for me. And this whole story line was about Team South Carolina - clad in black jerseys (Boo....Bad Guys) versus Team North Carolina - clad in wholesome white jerseys (Yeah...Good Guys) and of course Team South Carolina won the first 2 races. In fact - there was some subtle shoving in the first race and some not so subtle shoving in the second race (sort of like what Craig does to Zack on SBTB) and Team SC's 2nd race win was disputed. But then the judges gave it to them and some of us in the audience booed which gave the winner his cue to rip off his helmet and start "talking smack" a la WWF but look's motorwhatever. It's not wrestling. And you just aren't that much of a bad boy.

In the predictable story line vein I had come to expect, Team NC won the final race (after a pretty bad pile-up - we couldn't decide if that was part of the script or not - I say it was) and so all was finally right in motorwhatever world (just like Stacey put Craig back on a plane to Yale and ended the episode by telling Zack she loved him. Aww.).

So Freestyle. Yes - Freestyle was fun. Took a video of Monster Mutz which I will post tomorrow along with photos. Lots of wheelies and car crushing and spinning and engine revving (note: MTJ is loud. Very, very loud. Most people had earphones/plugs or something to protect their tympanic membranes). And just when you thought Monster Mutz would win (the truck seriously was the cutest thing I have ever seen - at least as far as Monster Trucks go)...duh nah nah nah nah....duh nah nah nah nah....Bad to the Bone started playing and out rolled Dred Pirate Gravedigger in all of his magically revived Monster Truck glory. I don't need to tell you what happened. I am sure you can figure it out.

Not nearly as Country as I thought but all in all quite a bit of fun.

Oh answer to the question that I KNOW many of you have been wondering...just what DOES a girl wear to MTJ? In my case...

...Denim, Dolces and Diamonds.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...