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Monster truck competition in Arnhem

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Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 846
I was surprised to see yet another US (?) sport being done in Europe, shown on my cable TV today.

The "monster truck" competition featured 10-15 heavy, fully custom, four-wheel drive trucks with huge, exceptionally powerful V8 engines. Their tires are about 3 meters/10 feet tall, and the trucks weigh over 10,000 pounds/5000 kg, yet can do acrobatics such as jumping over a dirt ramp up to about 10 meters/30 feet in the air. They compete in events where they have paired racing around a dirt-filled indoor stadium track and also in a free-style event where their run is subjectively judged sort of like a figure skating or diving competition.

I had previously thought of these events as being US-only, mostly centered in the southeastern US and Texas. I would have never thought it would have filled what seemed to be a large stadium in Arnhem, Netherlands. I am guessing that the event is seen as so bizarre that it attracts people worldwide, much as an unusual circus with unusual acts.

Perhaps globalization is moving faster and more extensively than I had thought? Will "professional wrestling" US style be next as a Euro sport? Is soccer/football on the decline in favor of monster truck racing and the like? (insert many grins here)
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Phil Bunch
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Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2076
Location: KTMB
I think the common factor here is farmers with mechanical engineering skills and sufficient equipment to make it all work. Monster trucks are commonly seen in small villages surrounded by farm land; large stadium performances are quite rare. Usually there are also tractor pulling contests at the same time.


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 846
Thanks for the explanation. One of the many mistakes I no doubt made in trying to figure this out from a great cultural and geographic distance is that I assumed that the primary audience was the most educated and culturally sophisticated parts of Amsterdam. From memory, I think most of the audience was families with young children - the little boys in particular treated the monster truck drivers as superheroes. The drivers wore exotic uniforms and after each performance they would get out of their truck and interact with the audience with much enthusiasm. If they wrecked their truck, they would sometimes carry parts to a child in the audience and shake hands with many of them and sign autographs, etc.

Perhaps it's mostly a comic book experience using remarkably complex machines in a modern style. This would be quite different from a Formula 1 or Le Mans race, where one seems to have mostly an adult audience. A more traditional competition in the US for four-wheel drive racing vehicles would be the Baja 500 mostly off-road race across Mexico. Similar events are held in Nevada and California deserts. There are also competitions across very muddy and swampy courses. Rally-style racing has a following in the US but it seems to me that the World Rally Championship races are more popular or more broadly popular in Europe. Again, it's hard to judge these things from a distance.

Perhaps we need "monster airliner" competitions, where the pilots must impress the judges with the difficulty of their freestyle aerobatic maneuvers! (grins). I think I would want to be a considerable distance away when they did their tricks, though!
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 763
Location: Chicago
The Reno Air Races are similar: families enjoying awesome mechanical equipment and feats of technical prowess.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2076
Location: KTMB
A very small farmer's village nearby (Haghorst, 900 people) organises a yearly event. These photos may give a nice idea what typically happens when young farmers organise stuff for their friends and families.

http://www.haghorstsspektakel.nl/photos/index.html

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