Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
One might be able to identify newcomers by looking to see who has their fingers in their ears. On Sunday, the enclosed Prudential Center amplified and reverberated the machines’ leonine snarls, making it nearly unbearable to go without some sort of protective accessory. Those who didn’t have Monster Jam Triple Threat–sponsored earmuffs—fashioned to look like Tonka Truck wheels—had, instead, little bullets of orange foam riveted into the sides of their heads.
The high-octane junkies of the greater Essex county area had the privilege to witness such legends as El Toro Loco, Max-D, Blue Thunder, Grave Digger, Megalodon, Pirate’s Curse, Zombie, and Monster Mutt Rottweiler as their drivers competed in six contests to prove their speed, agility, and willingness to hurl themselves—and six tons of metal—through the air.
The rally began with a race. Two trucks were staged on opposite sides of the track, and when the light turned green, they mashed the throttle and skidded counter-clockwise to see who was able to complete three laps the fastest. Truck v. truck ripped and roared, spat and sputtered, and young boys’ and their fathers’ hollers were made inaudible by the Zeusonian cacophony. All in all, each race lasted no more than a minute; after three quick rounds on the rink, spike-studded Max-D (aka Maximum Destruction) took the win.
For the next round, the drivers left their massive tanks and hopped on relatively quiet ATVs for another, more dexterous race. Four competitors revved their engines at the starting line on one side of the arena; the track they navigated snaked across the raised dirt platform in the middle of the rink and around checkpoints placed on all four of its corners. Shark-themed Megalodon beat out crowd-favorite El Toro Loco in a suspenseful race after El Toro was disqualified for aggressive driving.
Next was the two-wheel skills challenge—the first of the three crowd-decided matches. The objective of this competition was simple: get the truck on two wheels in the most interesting way for the longest amount of time. Max-D, who landed a jump on its back two wheels and proceeded to pogo for a defying number of buoyant seconds, won the crowd’s approval.
More aggregated scores were given to the drivers during the next round for the speed, duration, and tightness of their donuts—if a truck whipped around especially quickly, their “donut” was elevated to the level of “cyclone.” Grave Digger, who is perhaps the most famous Monster Truck in the world, was the clear winner, maintaining a six-second cyclone that garnered a score of 9.
Breaking up the big truck races again, drivers mounted speedsters—or dune-buggies with an absurd amount of horsepower. The track made use of the full arena; drivers started the race by jumping the middle platform from opposing sides before merging into one lane that weaved around more checkpoints. Largely, the race was decided by whoever took the lead after the first jump. However, in a dramatic turn of events, Max-D, who was behind El Toro Loco the entirety of the final race, won after El Toro turned too tightly and spilled right before the finish line.
The final freestyle round was the most anticipated; it was a chance for a driver to showcase the fruits of years of labor behind the wheel. What’s the batshit-craziest thing they could make their truck do in 70 seconds? Reaching heights of 30 feet, six ton monsters leaped in the air like growling ballerinas; they delicately nosed onto their front wheels, waggling their ass in the air as they moonwalked across the arena. The daring (and most successful point-wise), used the sharp angle of the raised platform to send their massive machines straight towards the heavens, hanging for just one tantalizing moment before performing a full backflip and landing where they started. As the timer ticked down the final seconds of the very last round, Grave Digger managed to steal the air out of the crowd’s lungs with such a gravity-defying maneuver. However, much to the disappointment of The Black and Green Wrecking Machine’s devotees, it was Max-D, accumulating far more points than anyone else in the previous rounds, who won the day. And also a trip to Orlando.