The Eye's of a Young Fan, World Finals 2006
By The Schrader's for our son

I remember when I was 6 years old going to my local Monster Truck event, a fun filled evening of car crushing excitement. Upon packing our snacks, cameras, sun lotion & glasses, we were able to leave by 5 pm to make the 7 pm show, and on a hot day we had the air conditioning on in the car. The parking was easy, the truck displays were always great and we were able to get great seating. The show was always exciting with constant mind blowing action, it was always cool to see a truck flip! After the event we usually got our driver autographs and were soon driving toward home and in bed by 11:30, sometimes stopping for ice cream on the way.
This year, I am now 13 years old, I had the opportunity to see behind the scene planning and preparations of the World Finals 2006 Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Live Nation invited us in the gate to see things in action. We arrived at Sam Boyd Stadium early in the week already witnessing track building, drivers and crew members working on their trucks, food service trucks arriving, testing of camera's and sound systems, banners being hung, so much going on. Everywhere I looked, somebody seemed to be doing something. It was like a big puzzle being built, with each piece being laid in perfect order, everything coming together just right. It was only Wednesday and I heard a few workers state "this will be a long night." It was a very busy place with everyone working toward the same goal.
As I went into the pits, the drivers had their own agenda. With their Monster Truck bodies off, some engines apart, welding going on, it was almost like the actual night of the racing and freestyle. Quite amazing and it was only mid week, mid afternoon at that, a very busy place in the pits. They were all so focused, some crew members seemed so tired but had the energy to finish the job, all with the hopes of entertaining the fan's and possibly becoming the champion Monster Truck Team. Some drivers were behind the press camera's doing video interviews as their minds probably thought about what is needed to be done on their trucks, they were all smiles. When I was young I thought "the driver" just drove the truck! This is certainly not true.
The Double Down experience enabled us to have an entertaining night of meeting the drivers, getting autographs, having great food and snacks, it was like a private party. Driver questions, contests and prizes, exclusive first pick merchandise and the well anticipated "Friday Night Qualifying" was all part of the fun. As the fans were enjoying there time, I was able to visit the pits once again to see the crew members working on their trucks, busy again in the pits. I remembered the Drivers, working late the night before, then up early on Friday, but they signed every book, picture, then qualified their trucks. I don't have to imagine, but their day was very long.
Saturday, we arrived at the pit party right at 11:30 am, the lines already began to form at each driver's autograph signing section. As I waited on line, I noticed the driver's smiles, picture taking and the constant signing for all who waited, 2006 finals book, pictures, hats, shirts, etc. They stood from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm with no break, then I heard a few sighs from the crowd as they took their rest and lunch break. Back at 3:00 pm, big smile and ready to sign until every fan was happy. I was tired just wandering around looking at the trucks, I almost could not imagine the drivers up early working on their trucks, then standing in the sun all afternoon signing autographs with the anticipation of the night of racing and freestyle. They finished at 5pm, then their work was about to begin, they now had to race.
The actual racing and freestyle was the most intense and best I have ever seen. How high can they go, how faster can the travel down the track? They took their trucks to the limits, they showed all their skill, even a short run the crowd applauded and they stepped out of their truck and smiled. A true sport for the fans...

As the show came to a close, the fans left for their journeys home. As I stood alone, I looked onto the track thinking back on all the planning, the work, the frustrations, the happiness; It was over in just one night. Then I thought about clearing the track, all the dirt and obstacles, the taking down of all the displays and banners, packing up of the Monster Trucks, the work only begins for some.
As I think back when I was 6 years old, I never imagined all the hours and planning that goes into such a big event. Could it be that the planning has already begun for next year? There is no doubt, this is a true sport for the fans, just ask any driver and they will tell you... "I am here to just have fun, and make the fan's happy, winning is the bonus." Jim Kohler, Avenger

I now appreciate when I sit in the traffic with the air on waiting to get out of the lot, it's the least I can do...

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