The Monster Truck Showdown will not only offer the thunder and showmanship of drivers managing trucks 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide — they also can offer personal ride experiences.

Ryan Holman, owner of Top Notch Motorsports of Dayton, said that they are a family affair, with father Ralph Holman, brother Josh, cousin Cody and uncle Bobby, all showing how they handle these behemoths in the four events planned for that day.

The four events each test the driver’s skills.

“For example,” said Holman, “during the Willy Contest, we see who can get their truck the most vertical.”

He said they use ramps or run over cars to get the proper tilt. But to maintain that vertical angle means using skills in steering, acceleration and braking — all at the same time. The other events are freestyle, racing and doughnuts. With a 40-point system, at the end of the event, a champion is selected and receives a trophy.

At breaks, spectators can buy a $10 ticket to personally experience the power of the 565-cubic inch 2000 horse-powered supercharged Hemi engine as they take a ride atop one of these mechanical beasts. Holman said up to 10 people can ride at a time and there is no age limit, “although we don’t take any babies.”

Tickets are for sale on site. The rides are available at the 5:30 p.m. pre-party as well as during and after the event.

They offer merchandise ranging from earplugs to earmuffs, the latter of which are shaped like truck wheels. Also for sale are Monster Truck themed T-shirts, flags and toys. Participants can also meet the drivers.

Holman said the drivers and their vehicles are the heart of the show, each with its own theme, one with a very worth cause.

“Driver Vern House’s truck “Dysfunctional” is dedicated to autism awareness,” said Holman. “He has a friend whose son has been diagnosed with autism and sales of their T-shirts raise funds for research”

The other trucks, with names like Samson, Heavy Metal, Beast, Son of Beast and Amped Up promise to provide a loud and muscular show.

Each truck was personally built by the owners and cost roughly $280,000.

Holman said that a monster truck is a specialized vehicle with a heavy duty suspension, four-wheel steering, and over-sized tires. Originally created by modifying stock pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, Monster trucks have evolved into purpose-built vehicles with tube-frame chassis and fiberglass bodies rather than metal. A competition monster truck is typically 12 feet tall and equipped with 66-inch off-road tires.

Holman said they plan on doing 30-35 shows this year and that “every one is a blast to do.”

“We meet people from all over the country, and have gone overseas to places like Puerto Rico.”

The business was begun by his father Ralph 39 years ago.

Monster Truck Showdown

The show is Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m.

The cost for grandstand tickets for the two-hour show are $10 for adults and free for children 5 and under.

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