Monster Trucks Invade Thunder Bay
by Scott A. Sumner
The people of Thunder Bay and NW Ontario came out in huge numbers to watch a very professional display of monster trucks and freestyle motocross proving once again their love of motorsport! The Murillo Fairgrounds was a bee hive of activity as thousands attended 4 different performances October 3 to 5, 2014.
Brent Schwalm, Professional Freestyle Motocross rider from Meyerstown, Pennsylvania’s performed at the event. He had just come back from Japan riding for 4 weeks.
“ I love riding my dirt bike so much. Our promoter got us in this show although I usually ride near Toronto on my Yamaha YZ 250. Weather permitting we will do everything today except for a back flip because we are dealing with a wet surface which means you have to keep the bike straight. Some of the whips mean getting the bike sideways so we need a dryer track for that as well.”
“ The turn out in Thunder Bay is awesome and has been excellent yesterday and today. I’m really excited to be here!”
Travis Wvara, Professional Monster Truck driver, is from Reno, Nevada. “ I got in the business in 2009 and worked my way up to driving in 2013 and then became an event director so am pulling double duty here including running the track. My machine is custom built, they are fabricated. You have to be a jack of all trades in order to be in this industry. You need to do everything from body work to electric to mechanic fabrication. Driving is about 5% of the whole job. We spend upwards of 50 hours a week just to maintain the trucks and make sure they are ready to go for a short period of time so more work than play!”
The tires on Travis’s truck are 66- 43- 25 and it has a 454 engine alcohol blown which runs on methanol with 1500 HP. The machine usually weighs about 10,000 pounds.
“ We can role them and they are up to all the abuse. We even have to work during the race weekends on the trucks say doing adjusts because of the temperature. In between the shows we are working.”
“ I love it here in Thunder Bay, the people are friendly and it is beautiful here in Canada. I am flying back to Reno Monday as I am still in university finishing up my degree in Criminal Justice. The Monster X Tour is one of the best promoters out there. I love running with them as they are very professional with great set ups and their people are tremendous!”