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The Northerner

Monster trucks roar at BOKC

Matt Popovich

Matt Popovich

Driver of The Rock Star, Bill Payne, performed Friday evening with his wife Lorna as co-pilot.

Matt Popovich, Staff writer

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Screams, howls and the roar of 1,500 horsepower alcohol-powered monster trucks could be heard emanating from The Bank of Kentucky Center Feb. 8-9. This was the first time the BOKC has hosted a monster truck event.

Members of the Monster X Tour, a national act which performs at smaller venues, made quite an entrance Friday morning as two monster trucks roared down University Drive.

Making an unusual scene even more interesting, the two trucks, which were leaving promotional parking spots in the Kroger parking lot, were pulled over by nearby police. According to the drivers of the trucks, the local officer had not been informed by NKU police that the 11 ½ feet wide, 33,000-pound trucks would be using public streets to enter the BOKC.

The event went on without a hitch, however. The Monster X Tour brought with it seven monster trucks, three freestyle motocross riders and a 10 car demolition derby.

Even with all the attractions, the event didn’t draw the crowd or enthusiasm freestyle motocross rider Mike Kieper was expecting.

“Ehh, you know, they could’ve been a little more pumped up last night [Friday]. We were trying to get them worked up; we were throwing arm pumps up there. We just couldn’t get them loud enough last night.”

Kieper went on to say the BOKC was a “freaking sweet” venue to perform in, even though they were working with a much shorter landing runoff than usual. They toned down their jumps from 50 feet to 30 feet above the floor to accommodate the shorter landing.

Many of the monster trucks had colorful schemes and gimmicks to excite fans. Trucks such as Bigfoot, The California Kid and The Reverse Racer excited crowds with loud noises and big jumps.

Ed Miller, driver of The Reverse Racer, said it takes a great deal of time and money to build and maintain these $150,000 trucks. Just like all sports, Miller said monster truck racing has progressed as well. Faster engines, better suspensions and wilder paint and body combinations have all helped the trucks evolve.

Another truck with an interesting theme is The Rock Star. Driver Bill Payne competes with his wife Lorna riding right behind him.

“Most of the time he is very well aware that I am back there, but I have never let him change his driving habits because I’m back there,” Lorna said. “He drives to entertain the crowd because he wants the fans to be happy.”

The dirt, which is sourced locally for each event, was delivered Wednesday night to the BOKC. The performers really appreciated the quality of the Kentucky soil.

“The dirt here is great,” Bill Payne said. He said the dirt contains large amounts of clay, which helps the trucks gain better traction, allowing for more speed and higher jumps.

The highlight of the show was the freestyle event. The trucks are given a set amount of time to put on a show for the crowd, who decides the winner.

“I’ll be from one end of this arena to the other end wide open, trying to keep it straight and on all four tires. But this isn’t a ‘show and shine,’ it gets rolled over all the time,” Payne said.

For information regarding upcoming Monster X events, you can visit monsterxtour.com. For information regarding upcoming events at the BOKC, visitbankofkentuckycenter.com.

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Monster trucks roar at BOKC