Another incredible International Monster Truck Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is complete! It is hard to believe it has been 9 years and 42 deserving individuals honored by taking their place in the IMTHOF!
There was a vibe in the air even before the event began on Friday night with the Meet & Greet session and scale R/C Monster Truck show presented by JConcepts Inc! The attendees arrived early, fans and drivers alike, as well as the incredible fan displays representing the history of the industry.
Graciously, many full-scale monster truck teams make the trek to the Hall of Fame with their trucks, bearing cost and cold to display their trucks for love of the sport and the Hall of Fame! Vintage monster trucks were not in short supply with a variety on site from historic to immaculate, including the Excide Exciter flip-top truck found in a barn perfectly preserved, the historic Mud Rat wearing 66in monster truck tires, the all new and gorgeous Bad Habit creation from Joe Sylvester and Gary Bauer, Terminator & Showtime replicating their setup at the 1984 Indianapolis 4-Wheel Jamboree, the Never Satisfied race truck from the Borders family, The Ripper race truck and the newly restored Nitemare street truck from the 80’s, just to name a few. However, electricity grew are fans eyed the blue tarped monster truck sitting in the middle of the exhibition hall. As 7:10pm rolled to fans gathered around as the truck underneath roars to life and the tarp is ripped off revealing a gorgeous retro 1992 Ford F-150 body sporting the pink and black flashback scheme on the modern Vaters race truck. Trey Myers did a beautiful job on this body surprising not only the IMTHOF fans but Vaters himself. After this reveal, the bar was high and the energy flowing when the overhead door starts to rise and Baby Bearfoot rips into the building driven by The Bear, burning a donut when Scott Hess tears into the building with the brand new 1989 Scott Hess Bearfoot Racer florescent orange and Bearfoot blue truck with none other than Fred Shafer, the Bearfoot originator in the passenger seat. Both instantly jump out of the truck saluting the crowd as the crowd erupts with thundering electricity.
As every attendee floated on cloud 9, 38 beautiful scale replica R/C monster trucks sit on a custom build track ready for performance. It’s time for the R/C Monster Truck Shootout presented by Jconcepts. As the national anthem concludes we go straight into side by side racing action on a Chicago-style track featuring beautiful recreations such as Overkill, Rollin’ Thunder, Bearfoot Racer, Big Tow, Crimson Giant, Heartland Express, Excaliber and more as Travis Sutton and Wild Hair would find himself at the top of the bracket taking the retro racing victory. As racing proceeded, freestyle also took place with high flying pro-mod trucks took to the track in all-out assault featuring King Krunch, Boogey Van, Scott Hess’s Bearfoot, Wild Thing and Bad Habit to name a few, drawing grasps and applause from the crowed with Danny Maass’ Chillin Villain taking the Most Outrageous Freestyle award. Not to overlook the sheer workmanship that went into all of these trucks, an award for Best In Show with Ross Hinshaw’s custom built Bad Habit debuting and taking the prize.
Saturday morning, showing no signs of sleep deprivation, the crowd showed up early for the history discussion with the 2019 Inductees with a storytelling Q&A session for 90min with inductees, Aaron Polburn, Jesse Birgy (Represented by Jeff Perrin & Friends), Dan Runte and Cliff Starbird before, in a bit of a surprise, five inductees from Hall of Fame Class 1 took to the stage for a 30min story session including, Bob Chandler, Jack Willman, Fred Shafer, Jeff Dane and Everett Jasmer!
With the stage set and the bar set high already, fans lined up early for the main event, the 2019 Induction Ceremony! The doors were opened, and the party started as fans were treated to rare archived home video from the depths of the industry’s history during the opening reception and dinner. As dinner concluded, the lights dimmed, the video screen pulsed and the audio thumped signifying the opening to the 2019 event as the intro video played projecting energy over the crowd. Clearly, just a start to the awesome videos the HOF crew had in store for the evening. The first induction video rolls as Dan Runte walks into the HOF, talking about his history and career spanning 30yrs with Bigfoot. The next video rolls, Cliff Starbird swoops back in after a family emergency left his attendance in question. Talking briefly about moving from custom cars into monster trucks, Starbird provided the crowd with a great timeline video of his career in the industries. Third on the induction docket, The Gentle Giant, The Mountain Man, whatever you call him, he is now Hall of Fame Inductee, Jesse Birgy catches his place in monster truck history! Jessie having passed in 2008 was represented well by his wife, daughter and nephew on stage. Finally, the last inductee for 2019, the music hits, the party starts and Aaron Polburn, the father of the Thunder Nationals series roars into the Hall of Fame telling some awesome stories from the days of the Thunder Nationals series and rounding out the class of 2019. The inductees gather on stage as their induction plaques are reviled providing an awesome photo op as the crowd closes in.
Finally, a staple of every Hall of Fame ceremony, closing out the show, is the charity auction supporting the Hall of Fame. With rare and remarkable items for auction, the bidding was vigorous and competitive with many one-off items, from custom posters, to rare hats, toys, helmets, equipment, body panels, including the Bad Habit World Record Long Jump Tailgate, and the event specific vinyl banners, all garnering much attention all in the name of supporting the Hall of Fame. A TREMENDOUS thank you goes to all of those that donated auction and raffle items to support the Hall of Fame. The support is remarkable, greatly appreciated, and overwhelming. 2019 marked a new record in attendance with the event selling out and a new level of sponsorship involvement amongst the monster truck community. Thank you so much to our sponsors that support the event every year, it is truly appreciated!
Without the support we have, the Hall of Fame would just be a building storing monster trucks. The PEOPLE make this happen.
Again, thank you all so much for your continued support as we try to make the event better every year. Congratulations to our 2019 Inductees: Runte, Starbird, Birgy and Polburn!!!
Jeffrey Cook, Jerry Richmond, Matt Cody, JJ Cook, Daisy Cook, Chelcea Heinfeld, Jim and Chris Allen, BMPS Video Productions, Mean Duck Productions, Chris Parrish, The Monster Blog.com, Ross Bonar, Don Borders, Thomas Borders, Beckie Polburn, Bigfoot 4×4 Inc, Travis Howard, Michael Vaters Sr., Vaters Motorsports, Scott Hess, Matt Stoltz, and many more!
**Side Note if anyone knows where the arrow monster truck event signs are please return them to us.**