Two-day monster truck competition draws thousands

Sunday, January 20, 2008
Monster Patrol, left, took on Big Dawg during the monster truck and quad races Saturday at the Show Me Center. (Kit Doyle)

Thousands of monster truck fans came to the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau for racing, freestyle demolition, all-terrain vehicles quad races and the Tuff Truck Challenge.

The two-day event drew 2,311 people Friday and 2,967 people Saturday.

"Traditionally, it does pretty well," said Shannon Buford, the marketing director of the Show Me Center. "The people who came out really enjoyed it."

While the monster trucks had little more than 60 feet of track to race each other, the small jumps in the red clay dirt track launched the trucks several feet into the air.

Big Dawg, a monster truck owned and driven by Doug Nelke of Union, Mo., won the second round Saturday. Nelke, clad in yellow and black to match his truck, was recognized for winning Friday night's championship, making his way to the finals.

The Tuff Truck Challenge featured local drivers in Ford and Chevy pickups racing each other against the clock. The Scott City Chevy with its bed nearly rusted out won the race in 23.72 seconds, almost half the time it took the Perryville driver to go around the barrel and over the jumps, completing one lap.

The audience waved black checkered flags for No. 142, the winner of the first ATV heats. Tiny in comparison to the monster trucks, the ATV teams of four took to the dirt track bunched up at first, chasing each other's dirt.

Trucks cooled down and refueled halfway through the show to return with the freestyle contest, in which trucks climbed, jumped and crushed a stack of cars and vans.

After the freestyle contest was more monster truck competition.

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