Monsters invade Hagerstown Speedway

July 17, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

  • View the Monster Jam slideshow.

    WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A "monster" crowd jammed much of Hagerstown Speedway's grandstand Friday night to soak in the sights and sounds, if not the smells, of larger-than-life custom-designed trucks going airborne and jumping over lines of junked cars.

    Monster Jam 2009, an annual staple at the half-mile, red-clay track about five miles west of Hagerstown off U.S. 40, continues through Sunday, with shows Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

    Heidi Irvin of Feld Entertainment Inc. was not immediately able to release attendance numbers, but said at least 2,000 people turned out for Friday's show.


Arriving about three hours before showtime to reserve eight seats with blankets, Nioga Mills of Downsville said her family has been coming to Monster Jam for more than 10 years.

"My little boy's going to be 10, and he's been coming every year since (he was born), and we came a couple years before he was born," Mills said. "We make it a family thing, even though ... you kind of see the same thing every year, but we enjoy comin'."

"I'm always nominated to come early for everyone else," she added.

Bob Summers of Hagerstown, one of many Grave Digger fans, said he has attended Monster Jam the past five years. One of the monster truck's drivers married into his wife's family, he said.

"Grave Digger only -- gotta stick with him," Summers said.

"(If I) stick with someone else, he's liable to boot me out of the family," he said, laughing.

Ashley Barr and T.J. Wallech, who are engaged to be married, came to the event to celebrate their 21st birthdays.

"I haven't been here since I was 11," said Barr, describing herself as a big fan of Grave Digger. "His birthday was two days ago, and mine is ... on Monday."

"It only comes once a year, so we figured we'd come out and see it," Wallech added.

Danielle Phipps, 25, of Falling Waters, W.Va., who was seated on a front row of bleachers with her friend, Amanda Shank, said Monster Jam 2009 was a first for them.

"It looked like a lot of fun on TV and I've always wanted to come," Phipps said.

While the rain had stopped by showtime, Phipps said the thought of being sprayed with mud by one of the trucks passing by a few feet away had crossed her mind.

Donning a Grave Digger T-shirt, Lori Judy said she traveled about two hours from Maysville, W.Va., in Grant County to see Grave Digger with her cousin, Heather Sanders of Hagerstown, and Sanders' son, Jacob.

Kendra Carbaugh of Hagerstown said she probably has been coming to see monster truck shows since she was her son Braxton's age -- 22 months.

"I just kind of wanted to start the tradition with him," Carbaugh said.

If you go

What: Monster Jam

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Speedway, U.S. 40, west of Hagerstown.

Gates open Saturday at 4 p.m. Party in the Pits is Saturday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. A Saturday event ticket plus a pit pass are required for entry to the party. Gates open Sunday at noon for the Family Day show. No alcohol will be served Sunday.

General admission is $15 in advance; $5 for ages 2 to 12; and reserved seating for all ages is $18. Admission at the gate is $17; $5 for ages 2 to 12; and $20 for reserved seating, if available.

For information, go to

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