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1997-2007 Anniversary Monster Trucks - Monster Mash!

Posted in Features on September 1, 2007
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Photographers: The Primedia Archives
King Kong, Sept. '83. Bob Chandler's Bigfoot is recognized as the first monster truck, but it had several contemporaries in the late '70s. This is one of them-Jeff Dane's King Kong, shot at the now-closed Indian Dunes recreation area.

Anyone who pooh-poohs the popularity of monster trucks should perform this simple test: Hand a die-cast or remote-control monster truck toy to any kid and watch what happens. I recently gave my 9-year-old daughter a little 1:43-scale die-cast Grave Digger, and she spent days running it around our house, jumping it over furniture, driving it along the living room walls, and making it flip over as she made the requisite crash and crunch sound effects. Children react almost instinctively to a monster truck. Its appeal is primal.

That appeal isn't limited to kids, either. Think about it, guys: Monster trucks, like Pamela Anderson, are an outsized exaggeration of our deepest fantasies. They're what we all love about four-wheeling-big tires, tons of power, unstoppable ability-taken to cartoonish excess.

OK, maybe monsters are a guilty pleasure. There's nothing wrong with that. So indulge yourself. Take a few minutes to walk down memory lane with us as our 30th anniversary series looks back at some of the monster trucks that appeared on our pages during the height of their popularity in the '80s and '90s. Plus, check out the story of Tim Bee, whose love of monsters in our magazine back in the day translated to a full-blown career.

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Tim today posing with Tuff-E-Nuff Too.

As a kid, Timothy Bee was fascinated by Bigfoot and other monster trucks. He started going to monster truck shows in middle school, and by the time he was in high school he was building highly detailed monster truck models. His handiwork was good enough, in fact, to win our Future Four Wheelers modeling contest in 1989 and again in 1990.

Tim's love for trucks led him to become an automotive and big-truck technician, and as a hobby he began to build and race mud boggers. By 2000, Tim's racing involvement earned him a spot on Mike Vaters' Black Stallion race crew, and by 2003 he was Vaters' crew chief. It wasn't long before Tim started working on his own full-scale monster truck, and in 2006 he began to race the Killer Bee, a Dodge-bodied monster with 26 inches of rear travel, thanks to its King Technologies suspension. "Since then, Tim has competed in eight shows in the Killer Bee, racing against some of the same trucks that inspired him to join the sport," Sharon Bee Cheng, Tim's sister, told us. "He has a full schedule of races and shows for 2007."

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