August 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm (Florida, networking, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (action photography, An Escalade, bank atlantic center, bartleby, El Toro Loco, Florida, Grave Digger, Gunslinger, Instigator, Madusa, monster jam, monster truck, Nikon, party in the pits, photography, pit party, rally, Shoot Miami, South Florida, sports photography, summer heat, sunrise, where is bartleby)
What weighs 5-tons, has four 5’6” tires, an ethanol fueled 1500 horsepower engine, and has wrestling aggression and showmanship? MONSTER JAM! Monster Jam Summer Heat rolled into the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, and Shoot Miami was there for the ride.
The day started off with the camera club meeting in front of the arena. I guess the ticket takers were a little intimidated by the size of the lenses carried by some of our members, because at first they were reluctant to let us in. After a little finagling by the group’s organizer we were allowed access – sans tripods.
The pit party was fun. This is where spectators are admitted onto the show floor prior to the event to see these behemoth machines up close and personal. Fans get the chance to meet their favorite drivers and take pictures with them in front of the trucks. Driver George Balhan even set up a black leather couch in front of his truck, An Escalade, for fans to meet him. For our crew it allotted the chance to document every conceivable angle of an MTRA monster truck – I’ll admit to climbing under El Toro Loco for some shooting.
Post party, the arena floor was cleared and set up for the show allowing some down time for lunch and people watching. At 2 p.m. the main event started with national anthem and a salute to our armed forces. The first competition was the sky wheelie contest, which was won by Gunslinger (middle left photo at the top of this article); then An Escalade defeated Madusa in the race category. In the donut competition George Balhan put on a good show, holding his steering wheel outside of the spinning truck during competition, but Grave Digger pulled away with the win. Grave Digger piloted by Randy Brown proved triumphant again in the Freestyle round.
Between monster truck competitions there was a highflying motocross show with riders performing mid-air stunts like the Superman, Cordova, and Christ (center photo). To help anticipate the arrival of the stunt bikes, the arena was introduced to two robotic vehicles, Gallactron and Reptar, “from outer space.” The skit was corny, but there were pyrotechnics involved and the kids seemed to like it – and the show really is for the kids, right?
It was a fun day. There were a lot of photos taken, and we got a great show. The only thing missing was a truck flipping over or loosing pieces, and the old radio and TV ads saying “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! ….Be There!”