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Trucks thrill crowd

July 17, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Many of the men, women and children who attended the U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam Friday night wore Grave Digger T-shirts. They had on Grave Digger hats and waved Grave Digger pennants.

So which monster truck is Karen Penn's favorite?

Little Tiger.

"I always go for the little guy," said Penn, of Biglerville, Pa.

"Tell the truth," said her husband.

"And I like the way he looks," Penn admitted of the truck's driver.

Andrew Smith, 7, nephew of Penn's husband, clutched a plush Grave Digger toy truck to his chest and said he likes that truck the best "'cause he's fast."

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Six trucks roared around the track and over junk cars during the rally, which also will be held today and Sunday.

John Ross came prepared, with a professional-looking set of ear protectors around his neck. He first said he came to the show because he obtained free tickets, but then made a concession.

"I'm a closet redneck," he said. "It's fun, man. It's great fun. It's Friday night. Summer in America. You can't do it anywhere else in the world.

"You can't do it on the highway, so you watch it," Ross said.

At the beginning of the show, each truck was introduced, save for one.

As the crowd quieted, the first instantly recognizable notes of George Thorogood & The Destroyers' "Bad to the Bone" started playing. An unseen engine roared and from behind a trailer sped Grave Digger.

The crowd yelled and clapped as the deep purple and green truck with the red headlights circled the track.

Behind the stands one could buy any variety of greasy food - hot dogs, french fries, nachos, pizza and beer. Monster truck memorabilia also was available.

Amanda Shoemaker, 11, handed over $5 for a flag bearing a skull and crossbones, a logo associated with - of course - Grave Digger.

She said she likes his colorful truck and said with a big nod that he was going to remain racing world champion.

Amber Knable, 14, of Clear Spring, couldn't quite say why she is so fascinated with monster trucks.

It's been a longtime passion, though.

"Ever since I was 2," she said.

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