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Monster fun

July 24, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • Gary Porter, also known as the Grave Digger, smiles at the crowd as he is introduced with the other drivers Friday at the start of Monster Jam at the Hagerstown Speedway.
Kelly Hahn Johnson, Staff Photographer

In 100 degree heat and with engines burning, only one word could describe the monster trucks circling Hagerstown Speedway on Friday.

"It's cool!" said Lilly Wise, 9, of Huntingdon, Pa.

"They're cool," said Trevor Parisher, 5, of Winchester, Va.

"Cool," said Chris Parisher of Winchester.

Thousands of fans roared at the screaming trucks oozing beef and bravado and shaking the grandstands like thunder.

It was the start of that weekend in July when the hulking facades of cartoonish truck-muscle take over Hagerstown for three days.

Monster Jam is an annual staple at the half-mile, red-clay track about five miles west of Hagerstown off U.S. 40, said Shelbi Curtis, event manager for Feld Motor Sports.

"The fans come to our Monster Jam events typically to enjoy things that they don't necessarily get to experience," she said. "Seeing big trucks crush cars and make loud noises and all that stuff is something you don't get to see every day, so the entertainment value for the average fan is just above par."

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Six trucks, including King Krunch, Hot Tamale, El Matador, Equalizer, Spider-Man and Grave Digger, driven by Gary Porter, "mashed the throttle" and wowed the crowd.

If applause was any indication, overwhelmingly, Grave Digger was the favorite.

Grayson McCleaf, 10, of Williamsport, said of all the fast, loud and big trucks, Grave Digger is the best.

Why?

"He always wins, mainly," he said.

This was the second year Grayson came to Monster Jam, he said.

For a self-professed really big fan of monster trucks like Nathan Spurgeos, 4, of Hagerstown, everything about Monster Jam is a reason to come.

"They're so loud, they're so huge, they go vroom ... bchsslk! And they crunch the cars!" he said.

Monster Jam is really fun for kids, said James Earp of Middletown, Md., gesturing to Josh Earp, 5, who bounced with excitement.

"Monster trucks!" said Josh Earp.

If only one word could describe Monster Jam, it made sense that there was only one reason Lilly came to the show with her family on Friday.

"I love monster trucks!" she hollered, spreading a big grin on her freckled face.

An AWOL ambulance nearly held up the start of Monster Jam, but when the engines rumbled to life, so did the nearly sold-out crowd.

Local competitors also put their Hondas, Jeeps, Fords and Subarus to the test on the track in the Street Warriors competition.

Stephania Murray of Greencastle, Pa., said her son, Michael Murray Jr., was part of that competition.

If you go



What: Monster Jam

When: Today, pit party at 4 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.; Sunday, gates open at noon, show starts at 2 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Speedway, 15112 National Pike, west of Hagerstown

Cost: Adult tickets cost $18 and $23 at the gate. Admission for children aged 2 to 12 is $5.

Contact: Call 301-582-0640 or go to http://www.hagerstownspeedway.com

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