Friday, February 1, 2013
Mesquite Arena welcomes monster truck rally February 1 and 2
The 300-pound Big Ed Beckley will also perform motorcycle stunts.
MESQUITE The sound of engines revving and cars being crushed will fill the Mesquite Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, as the monster trucks bring their unique entertainment to the area.
"This is a great match between event and arena because Mesquite Arena will have the spectators right on top of the action," said Steve Gander, general manager of Mesquite Arena. "We thought this would be a perfect match, so we searched out an event of this magnitude to bring to Mesquite. Checkered Flag Productions are well known throughout the country, and they have been a great partner in bringing in some of the most exciting motorsports events to Mesquite."
Among the featured acts will be Bigfoot, which has been dubbed the King of the Monster Trucks. Bigfoot has not been seen very often in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the past 20 years. Introduced in 1979, Bigfoot is widely regarded as the first monster truck. Bigfoot's owner began building the truck in 1975, using his family's 1974 Ford F250 four-wheel-drive pick-up truck. In 1981, Bigfoot's owner shot a video of his truck crushing some junk cars in a farmer's field. Soon after, Bigfoot began making appearances all over the country, crushing cars -- and a new sport was born. By 1984, the sport had gone nationwide, and is still strong today as interest in Bigfoot is at an all-time high.
"We are excited to bring our truck to such a historic event and we have instructed our driver Larry Swim to win at all costs. It is time that the Dallas area had a chance to see Bigfoot again and we are ready for the challenge," said Bob Trent, Team Bigfoot president.
To add to the entertainment, 62-year-old motorcycle daredevil Big Ed Beckley will perform a stunt during the event. Beckley, at 300 pounds, is being billed as the World's Largest Motorcycle Jumper.
"Harley Davidson actually built a bike just for him with a stronger frame to support his weight," Gander said.
Beckley was a motorcycle stunt jumper for the nearly 30 years before he retired. He recently decided to start jumping again. His past performances include a sold-out performance at Reunion Arena in 1984. Beckley is a Kansas native but has lived in Bridgeport since 1995. Beckley is planning on jumping the Snake River in Idaho this summer, so he is using the Mesquite performances as a warm-up for that jump.
"I am in better shape physically [now]. I weigh 90 pounds less than I did when I was 30. At 62 years old I am still rockin' and rollin' and struttin' and strollin' and I am ready to fly this Harley jump bike," Beckley said.
"[Beckley] was pretty well known for doing daredevil stunts in his early years," Gander said. "By having him as part of the show it really adds a new twist and gives people a chance to see a little something extra."
The event will offer local drivers a chance to compete in the tuff-truck obstacle course. Trucks, Jeeps, and other all-terrain vehicles race against the stopwatch as they negotiate left and right turns and several jumps. Anyone with a driver's license can enter the competition.
"This really allows us to get some local flavor involved in the event. Anytime you have an event, it's always good to involve local participants," Gander said.
The arena will also showcase motorcycle flat track speed races. Some of the top American Motorcyclist Association dirt track riders will slide into the corners and bump the other racers out of the way as it becomes a handlebar-banging war.
"This will be a really fun event," Gander said. "One of our objectives is to make the arena a multiuse facility and this truly accomplishes that goal."
The gates open at 6 p.m. and there is a VIP Pit Party at 6:30 p.m., which allows spectators to get up close and personal with their favorite drivers and trucks.
"All of the drivers are really nice and enjoy interacting with the fans," Gander said.
Tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Mesquite Arena box office. Tickets can also be ordered online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Adult tickets are $14 for end-zone seating, $32 for mid-level seating, and $62 for VIP tickets. Children's tickets are $14 for end-zone seating, $16 for mid-level seating, and $31 for VIP tickets.
Gander added that people have seen the event promoted on the arena's video marquee board and have been stopping to ask questions about the event. The video board was added last year to give the arena a presence to motorists traveling along I-635.
"Our video board has generated a lot of feedback so far. It really is becoming a landmark for the city," Gander said.
For information on the arena, visit www.mesquiterodeo.com.
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