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Get close to motorized monsters
The Southern Monster Truck Showdown, featuring trucks including Bounty Hunter, above, is set for 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center in Gainesville.
Southern Monster Truck Showdown
When: Gates open at 6 p.m.; pit party and monster truck rides, 6-7 p.m.; show, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville
How much: $12 in advance, $14 at the gate; children age 3-12, $9 in advance and $10 at the gate. Age 2 and younger free. $5 to ride in Alien Attack truck; minimum age for ride is 3
More info: 770-531-6855 or e-mail.

For Father’s Day, you could get your dad a new tie. Maybe a pair of socks.

Or, how about an arena full of raw horsepower and destruction?

That’s what promoter Orville Hill said you’ll find at the Southern Monster Truck Showdown, slated for Friday and Saturday night at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center in Gainesville.

Hill said audience members come to monster truck shows to see “the edge of out of control,” which will literally be the case at this weekend’s show. The event will feature well-known trucks including Outtacontrol, Monkey’N Around, Bearfoot and Bounty Hunter.

To prepare for the show, Hill said local salvage yards donated “crush cars,” which crews have been arranging over the past few days.

“(We) prep those to be sure we’ll get the glass, plastics and things out of there,” he said, adding that the crew takes that measure to protect the audience and the animals that are at Chicopee throughout the year.

“We’ll prep the cars up. They’ll get the racing lanes (and) the dirt racing ramps (ready),” Hill said. “We’ll build a pyramid out in the arena with cars and vans, so that they’ll do the freestyle — which is the most exciting part of the show — where the trucks usually roll over (and) tear the wheels off of them.

“It’s a very action-packed weekend.”

Hill said 2005 World Freestyle Champion Jimmy Creten will get behind the wheel of Bounty Hunter for the show, which might also include a wreck or two.

“You know, in racing, when you’re racing over stacks of cars, if one truck messes a stack up and the next guy comes out, it is very easy to roll over,” he said. “The Monkey’N Around truck, which was here two years ago, rolled over in the arena.”

But before things get crushed, you can arrive early for a pit party prior to the show to meet drivers and pose for photos with them and their trucks.

If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on under the hood of a monster truck, Hill said the vehicles are much more than tricked-out pickups.

“These are injected and blown on alcohol motors,” he said. “The fiberglass bodies are made to (replicate) the vehicles that you (drive every day) — your pickup trucks, Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet.”

But it’s what’s on the inside that makes the trucks monsters.

“These things here are nothing more than ultra-fast race cars with big tires. I mean, they’re serious machines,” he said.

And if you’ve ever wanted to get up in one of those bad boys, you can take a ride in a monster truck called Alien Attack before the show, at intermission, or afterward — and you can do it with 18 of your closest friends.

“It holds approximately 19 people,” said Hill.  “There’s actually seats with seat belts in the bed, and the cab actually holds people up where the driver is going to be.”

"It won’t jump cars, but it does give people an idea of what the monster truck feels like as it's driving through the arena," he said. But even if that ride’s not on your list, he said you can still be a part of the show.

“If they drive a Ford, they get behind the Ford guy. If they drive a Chevrolet, they get behind the Chevrolet guy. They feel like part of it,” he said. “Usually, there’s full excitement. You just never know what’s going to happen.”

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