One of the first things we saw when we walked into the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, was a group of fullsize 4x4s sporting hand-painted camouflage and emblazoned with the words Mudd'n' Militia Off-Road Wrecking Crew. A quick look at these vehicles confirmed that they weren't kidding. The trucks were beefed with a plethora of gnarly bulletproof mods, and the trucks wore battle scars from numerous trail rides. This was proof positive that the 4-Wheel Jamboree Series appeals to all facets of 4WD fans -- even the hard-core trail crowd.
The 16th Annual Advance Auto Parts Spring 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals followed the pattern set two weeks earlier at the Ozark Jambo in Springfield, Missouri, by smashing all previous records for participants and spectators. Heavy rain on Friday just fueled the fire, and Saturday's show grew to gargantuan proportions, resulting in vehicle gridlock for a short time on Saturday afternoon as participants and spectators packed the fairgrounds. This was good news for those who like to peruse trucks, and the wide variety on display ranged from the aforementioned trail trucks to clean and polished daily drivers to stunning show-only massive 4x4s. It was also good news for the Performance Marketplace vendors who came to the show from near and far to offer their goods and services. The collection included national vendors such as American Racing, Superlift, Flowmaster, Rancho Suspension, National Tire & Wheel, and Mean Green Industries, as well as local shops such as Lima Clutch & Joint and Tom Ahl Dodge.
The Spring Jambo had an intensity borne of a long Midwest winter, and that mood was strongly evident in the infield, where the racers let it all hang out in their respective competitions. Eight monster trucks, 157 mud racers, 32 Tough Trucks, 11 burnout contest competitors, and 5 Tug-A-Trucks kept the infield hopping throughout the weekend, offering an eyeful for spectators. In addition, a Saturday evening show rocked the Allen County Fairgrounds under the lights.
When all was said and done, more than 38,000 spectators had witnessed the Spring Jambo in all its glory, and more than 1,820 participants had funneled into the Allen County Fairgrounds to be a part of Jambo history. Many folks were making their 2002 motel reservations the day they checked out from this year's show in anticipation of next year's great show. For more information about next year's show or any of the events in the Performance Series, contact: Special Events, Dept. OR, 804 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, (317) 236-6525, www.familyevents.com.
PICS 1-9Tough Truck racing has become serious business, with drivers signing major sponsors and trucks sporting the latest go-fast equipment. Because of this, the competition is fierce, and drivers push their trucks to the limit in order to win. Occasionally, this competition results in crashes such as this one that completely rolled this Chevy pickup before it ended up back on its wheels.
Saturday was wall-to-wall people; the Spring Jambo posted record-breaking attendance figures. More than 38,000 four-wheel-drive enthusiasts flocked to the Allen County Fairgrounds for a full day of 4x4 worship.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Chevy S-10s are a lot tougher than most folks give them credit for. This one took repeated abuse and never broke, even after being augured into the Ohio dirt.
Grave Digger is a crowd favorite, and it was in Lima along with seven other monster trucks to compete in side-by-side and freestyle racing.
Steve Bishop was racing his new Modified Class Tough Truck, and it did quite well for a shakedown run, taking him to the quarter-final round.
The Spring Jambo was the second race of the 2001 National Mud Racing Organization season, and more than 150 racers in six classes battled it out on the side-by-side mud track.
Mike Goudy from Loudonville, Ohio, brought the only Ford to the burnout competition, and he took home the Second Place trophy for his tire-roasting burnout.
We're pretty sure that this was not the intended application that Ford engineers had in mind when they designed the Bronco II, but Wesley Keys certainly thinks so. Keys came all the way from Virginia to race his little Bronco in the Tough Truck competition.
Carrie Watson (middle) of Loveland, Ohio, Winner of the Miss Spring 4-Wheel Nationals competition posed with her court after Sunday's competition. She won bragging rights, a trophy, and cash.
The Goldberg monster truck was on a roll in Lima, winning two of four races over the course of the weekend. With the close of the Spring Jambo, this strong showing put the truck in Fourth Place for the season-long Monster Truck Thunder Drags points series.
Roger Cardot is always a serious Modified Class Tough Truck contender, but he couldn't hold off Steve Bishop and his new Ford.
Bobby Cox is a motorsports and rodeo clown, and he entertained the infield crowd throughout the weekend with his antics, which included launching his mini monster truck over a wagon.
Black Stallion was one of eight monster trucks in Lima, and driver Mike Vaters pushed the truck to its limit each day of racing, offering spectacular air and crazy landings.
Half the battle of Tough Truck racing is to just finish the race, because sometimes trucks just can't handle the abuse of the track.
Families flocked to the Spring Jambo, and part of the reason was to see the popular monster trucks Grave Digger and Goldberg. Earplugs were available at all of the jambos in the series, so you could have your hands available to clap.
Andy Hoffman flopped his Nitemare monster truck onto its side during the freestyle competition, but damage was confined to the fiberglass body, and he never missed a race.