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Monster trucks revving up

By Jennifer Nixon

This article was published January 23, 2014 at 2:50 a.m.

robo-machine-is-one-of-the-trucks-coming-to-monster-jam-at-verizon-arena

Robo Machine is one of the trucks coming to Monster Jam at Verizon Arena.

They rumble in every year, giant, colorful trucks with massive wheels and intimidating names like War Wagon and Incinerator.

But what exactly makes a monster truck? No mere ordinary trucks, they’re about 12 feet tall, 12 feet wide and roll around on 66-inch tires. Despite their bulk, they can also fly through the air and travel up to 100 miles per hour.

“For little kids, they’re just big toys,” driver Mike Miller says. “Then you get the gearheads who like to see how they work.”

It’s the chance to see this display of destruction and a flaunting of the laws of physics and gravity that brings people out year after year to the Monster Jam at Verizon Arena. This year’s show starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with the floor of Verizon covered with dirt track and moguls for the trucks to race, bounce and crush lesser trucks in their wake.

There’s plenty of opportunity to see them do just that at the show. It starts out with a drag racing program between the trucks and then the floor opens for the freestyle competition.

“We can have a lot of fun out there and do doughnuts and wheelies,” Miller says, pointing out that the big, heavy nature of the trucks just adds to the spectacle.

“Even people who aren’t into motor sports, they’ve got to check them out and see what we can do with those things, as big and heavy as they are.”

Miller, now in his second year as a driver, can attest to the long-lasting appeal of giant trucks. He grew up going to the show and knew this was “just what I wanted to do.”

He worked as a truck mechanic for a year before stepping into the driver’s seat. At the Little Rock show, he’ll drive a body called “Hotsy.”

Those who show up early with a Pit Pass can get up close to the trucks for photos and gawking at the Party in the Pits, 4:30-6:15 p.m. both days. Drivers will be there to answer questions and interact with the audience. Or guests can stick around for the autograph session after the show.

“We always put on a good show,” Miller says. “I’ve never seen anybody leave who’s been disappointed. It doesn’t matter if there’s 10 people or 10,000, we’re going to run the trucks and put on a good show for everybody.”

Tickets (plus taxes and service charges) are $22-$37 in advance, $7 for children ages 2-12. All tickets go up $2 the day of the show. Pit Passes are free at Hardee’s locations, $10 for adults and $5 for children elsewhere. You also must have a valid show ticket for the same day to attend the Pit Party. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com or monsterjam.com.

Weekend, Pages 32 on 01/23/2014

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