A Tough Truck driver sits motionless in pin-drop silence for one split second. Engines pumping, adrenaline revving, a rollover, and the crowd roars with excitement. With the power of his right foot and the luck of ending rubber-side up, he finishes the race like a trained gladiator. Waves of fans screams hit the infield, and hes OK.
Tough Truck racing was only a part of the 4Wheelius Jamborium in the stadium arena at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio. Some of the most intense, crowd-pleasing, hero-making, Tough Truck races weve ever seen took place while we were at this years May event, which attracted more than 38,000 truck aficionados. The Jamboree series, running through October, hosted Monster Truck Thunder Drags, Mega Tanks, a Tough Trucks competition, National Mud Racing Organization mud racing, a massive show n shine, a parts marketplace, a truck demolition derby, burnout contests, and 1,822 of the sickest trucks weve ever seen.
The games begin once youre inside the gates. The pulse of the truck city is this mazelike path that flows with spectating masses. The rules are simple. Everyone knows where they can or cant park. Everyone knows that if you roost mud you get thrown out. Everyone knows that the fairgrounds cruising path is one way and one way only. And everyone knows that the spectators are as much a part of the show as Bigfoot, Gravedigger, and Goldberg. Once youve paid a registration fee you can park your 4x4 anywhere inside the show area, bust out a camping seat next to your truck, pop open a drink, and watch the other people with big trucks watch you with your big truck. Staring for long periods of time is permitted.
Middle America is the place where you most expect to find pure Americana, and its there. Everyone involved in the show n shine seemed to agree that shininess matters. Whole families sacrificed a little for shine time. Guys with pantry ladders stretched to polish the out-of-reach rollbars. Girlfriends busted out all sorts of cleaning utensils like chamois and cotton swabs. Chrome coilovers and steering shafts looked like they were right out of the chrome dipper. To old-fashioned eyes, the culture will seem futuristic, but be prepared to see everything from John Deere to hydraulic steer.