In 1981 the first car crush took place in a stadium show. It didn’t take long for others to follow in Bob Chandler’s foot steps and create their own monster trucks. Once you put two high horse power vehicles side by side you create an atmosphere for competition. The monster truck industry was growing fast and the trucks were getting faster and faster. Monster trucks, in the mid 80’s, were large cumbersome vehicles with stiff suspensions and huge engines. It became obvious that it would be necessary to institute regulations to help put together a safe environment for not only the competitors but for the fans too.
A letter was drafted by Bob Chandler and George Carpenter inviting monster truck owner/drivers to a get together in St Louis in September 1987 that was to take place in conjunction with a local show . Eleven drivers attended the meeting at the BIGFOOT shop where initial discussions took place. An interim board was selected that included George Carpenter, Danny Tassone (Star Monster) and Denise Robinson (formerly of Clydesdale).
Three months later (12/07/87), the first official MTRA meeting was held. 49 owner/drivers attended and an official board was voted on.
The first board members of the MTRA:
– Bob Chandler (BIGFOOT) – President
– George Carpenter – Assistant President/Safety Director
– Bill Weaver (Rambo) – Director
– Fred Shafer (Bear Foot) – Director
– Jon Breen (Stomper Bully) – Director
– Donna Purcell – Secretary/Treasurer
Decisions made at this first meeting included:
– Inspection Sheets will be used
– A complete Rule book was voted on
– Membership categories were designated (Owner, Promoter, Sponsor, Associate)
– Membership fees
The monster truck owners/drivers were very excited about the future of the monster truck industry and felt that the MTRA would only enhance its longevity by helping produce a safe environment that will help draw the growing fan base.
All major promoters soon supported and used the MTRA rules. Promoters have even come to the MTRA and requested to use (copy) the MTRA rules as part of their rule book for their activities. Promoters can and have been encouraged to participate in the MTRA as associate and board members.
Since 1988 there has been an annual MTRA meeting.
The MTRA has been innovative in developing and establishing stringent safety guidelines required by all members, some of which include the following:
– Remote Ignition Interrupter (RII) – enables the vehicle to be shut down from a remote location.
– Annual inspections for vehicle certification – keeps vehicles safe for drivers and spectators.
– Certified drivers – drivers must pass a two part driving test to get a “Class A” certification.
– Truck Inspections: Initial inspections would take place upon enrollment.
In 1989 a training session for inspectors was added as part of the annual meeting. MTRA members interested in becoming certified truck inspectors are required to attended this 4 hour technical training session. At the end of the training session a thorough test is administered which members must pass to become certified. Members must be recertified each year.
The MTRA is very positive about the future of its organization and the Monster Truck industry as a whole.
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