Holding my nephews’ hands tight, my sister-in-law and I headed toward the familiar Credit Union Centre for an altogether unfamiliar event: monster trucks.
No one in our little group had ever seen a monster truck, let alone been to an event dedicated to them. As we settled in with our overpriced snacks, I quickly realized monster trucks weren’t the only machines on display.
For the next three-plus hours, the annual Auto Trader Motorsports Spectacular treated us to not only monster trucks, but motocross arenacross, motocross freestyle, a demolition derby, the “Canadian Tuff Truck Competition” and quad racing.
But first we were introduced to the main attraction of the show. The monster trucks themselves were treated with as much respect, if not more, than the drivers. The colourful names of the trucks included Maniac, Jurassic Attack, Western Renegade and California Kid.
Our favourite ended up being California Kid. The driver was a guy in his early 20s from California, and he was reckless on the track. More than once during the monster truck freestyle, we all gasped as we were certain he would flip over backwards.
But to what extent is this event a show?
A fight broke out between the captains of the two quad racing teams (one team from Toronto and one from Saskatoon), but it was clearly choreographed. It lead to a rematch between the two teams, which — surprise! — the Saskatoon team won.
Often the event seemed to have a professional wrestling feel to it; these guys may be athletes, but they were really just putting on a show for the kids. And man, were there kids!
My very rough guess was that there was a 1:1 kid to adult ratio. They were everywhere. And they seemed to love the little Cat machines cleaning up the tracks between events as much as the big show.
While I had a good time, I had no intention of writing a sports article. If The Sheaf’s sports editor had asked me to write something before I went, I probably would have replied, “Monster trucks aren’t a sport!” While I’m still not convinced running over broken-down cars in a very big truck qualifies as a sport, motocross clearly does.
Despite the draw from the shiny bigness of the monster trucks, I was more impressed by the motocross racing. Watching them calmly fly over the big jump, take the turns at terrifying speeds to wipe out hard only to hop back on their bike again got me interested in the sport. A quick search lead me to the Saskatoon Track N Trail Motocross Club, which hosts a track south of Saskatoon for motorcycling and ATV riders.
According to their website, the tracks are home to many events, including provincial championship races. They’re 2011 season hasn’t started yet, but if I took anything away from the Motorsports Spectacular, it was that motocross racing is sweet — it’s definitely worth finding time to check out some of their races this summer.
image: Ashleigh Mattern