Big Boys with Big Toys: Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live is Here

It was Gary Lee who many years ago said on a popular VHS video, “The only difference between men and boys, is the price of their toys.”  For many of those boys, that hobby of being into cars started not just in the garage with their dads, but also in the toy department at many a store.  Specifically, spending less than a dollar on those little Hot Wheels cars that have over run many households.

Every kid wanted to have their own, even wishing that car they got out of the cardboard and plastic could eventually become a real-life piece.  Many of those fans also spent time with their folks at a monster truck show, seeing a big truck take out a small vehicle, just for the roar of the crowd.

Eventually, the toys got bigger, more expensive, but the kid inside still remained, wondering if those toys would ever become life-size.

Well, wait no longer, because Hot Wheels decided to take the plunge and combine their toy manufacturing with the monster truck industry.  For the first time, over this past weekend, the debut of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks LIVE officially took place.  The toys found on the shelves of Walmart and Target became full-on reality, with six top names taking on the bodies of the trucks found inside those packs.

The site, the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, Texas, for a three-show weekend that already had a lot of build up.  Fans only had to wonder what teams would be rolling in with the life-size toys.

Coming in from Ohio, the father-son combo of Bobby and Cody Holman took their Team Best machines and reworked them in the tandem of the amphibious creature the Tiger Shark, and the flat black hot rod known as Bone Shaker.  Making the trip from Kentucky, a team that has been a true “Heavy Hitter” for several years, Derick Anson took off the truck body and instead painted the chassis black, and added an Escalade body.  This red body then got treated to a graffiti paint scheme, along with paint on the tires, almost as if it was ready for a different competition.  Anson was ready for action in his new Demo Derby machine.

Teamed with him on this weekend, a familiar face that has toured with Anson for several years, Steven Snellen, who usually climbed aboard a rusty-looking chassis that was named Basher.  That chassis got cleaned up, painted, and a new set of tires.  The body then got a unique look as if it was on a plane.  Enter the V8 Bomber, ready for competition with a silver and green look that was ready to take out the opposition.

One final duo to compete this weekend had a classic look on a modern body, and a famous name to match.  Darron Schnell rolled in with a 2019 Ford Raptor, but draped in a classic look from years gone by.  His Bigfoot machine carried the original scheme for the first tubular chassis truck in the fleet, the red and yellow racing stripes, and looked sleek as ever.

Teamed with him, Christian Norman, who also carried a 2019 Raptor body, but in honor of the new tour, carried a bright white scheme with red and blue accents.  His beast, named Hot Wheels Racer 1, looked sleek, clean, and bright, ready to hammer some metal.

The arena floor was laid out, simple with excellent opportunity.  The car stacks and van pyramid were placed on tires to keep them from moving, and the concrete floor provided a lot of space.  Following an amazing “Crash Zone” pit party, it was finally time to give the fans exactly what they wanted…life size Hot Wheels performing in front of a major crowd.

Derick Anson had a new body on his truck, but his driving style never changed on the Hot Wheels tour.

To keep the format simple, it was a format familiar to many, dating back to the Monster Truck Nationals that continue to excite crowds to this day.

Derick Anson had a new body on his truck, but his driving style never changed on the Hot Wheels tour.

With fresh cars ready to hit, the wheelie competition led the first event of the weekend, which turned out to be the first event in history for the tour.  With two hits for each truck, and a crowd reaction yielding a winner, each driver was on their hardest task to put on a lasting first impression.  Apparently Anson wanted to really get the crowd into it as his Cadillac not only soared high in the air, but also far across the stacks, giving him the first official victory on the night, and the season.

Following a bit of down time to let the trucks cool down, the next competition was ready to roar, the donut contest.  Squealing tires and burning rubber led to a lot of screaming engines, and this was Schnell’s afternoon as after finally settling the #19 chassis where he wanted, the Firestone tires laid down on the concrete.  One win a piece for Anson and Schnell, yet two events remained.

Up first, who could make it to the finish line first, as it was time for straight-line, holeshot racing.  The six beasts battled till only two remained.  It was Cody Holman taking on Norman for the first-ever race victory, and if there was any indication who was quick, it certainly came from the truck with the title sponsor.

Norman launched off the line, taking a fender-length lead over the cars, and to victory.  It was three events, and three different winners.  The floor was then cleared as it was time to let each truck loose for freestyle.

Every driver was enjoying the long floor and fresh vans to hit, but it seemed as though Anson was on a different level.  Each hit was with attitude, force, and sometimes a bit of a crazy mindset.  One hit got him so far sideways, the sidewalls of the tires were even with the ground.  Yet, the truck came down on the ground, and continued on for the duration of the run.

It was a run that fans not only thought was enough for the win, but with that victory, Anson and the Demo Derby became the first recipient of the overall event winning trophy, the Titan Cup.

SATURDAY MATINEE RESULTS:

  • Wheelie Competition:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby

  • Donut Contest:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

  • Racing Finals:  Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racer 1, def. Cody Holman, Bone Shaker

  • Freestyle:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby

  • Titan Cup Champion:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby

 With little time to waste, there had to be a turnaround for the second show of 2019.  The advantage, the fans that may not have made the opening show, were getting a fresh look for the evening show.  Track officials moved out all the broken metal from the first event, towed in all new cars and vans, and made the floor look as if no event had taken place.

Fresh metal, new fans…it was already time to get it on.

Starting the night in wheelies, it seemed that Schnell found the right setup to get his truck to launch skyward, as with each hit on the cars he put his Raptor on the wheelie bar, bringing the crowd to its feet, and capturing his first wheelie victory of the year.

As much as he wanted to follow up with another donut contest win, it seemed Snellen wanted to lay down some rubber that was built up on his new EcoWork tires.  It seemed he was on the loud pedal and wasn’t going to let up until either he was near the wall or hit a stack of cars.  Snellen earned his first win on the season, stunning even himself in the process.

The classic look on Bigfoot certainly was a hit with the fans, and it led to many victories

The classic look on Bigfoot certainly was a hit with the fans, and it led to many victories

Intermission gave everyone a chance to relax, but also a chance to get setup for racing, and zoned in for being solid on the lights.

Snellen seemed to enjoy the fact that he had just won, because he now was ready to double up in the finals.  In order to make that happen, he had to get by Norman, as he was looking to keep his lucky streak alive.  Although in the opposing lane, Norman was just as fast on the lights, and flew to a half-truck victory to make him 2-for-2 on the weekend, and also Team Bigfoot 2-for-3 on the night.

When it came to freestyle, Schnell decided it was time to let the racing stripes show they could put on a show as well.  The grey chassis was working perfect, and the fans were eating it up.  The racing stripes earned the second win on the night, and it was more than enough to take home the second Titan Cup of the weekend.

SATURDAY NIGHT RESULTS:

  • Wheelie Competition:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

  • Donut Contest:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber

  • Racing Finals:  Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racer 1, def. Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber

  • Freestyle:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

  • Titan Cup Champion:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

 Teams had more time to get some fine tuning done on the trucks prior to the final show of the weekend, meaning that with one show remaining, every truck may look excellent when the show began.  But, by the time the final truck hit the track, there was a possibility of body panels and components laying on the concrete.

It was time for one final show, and one final opportunity.

Wheelies started the night once again, and this competition seemed to once again belong to the graffiti-colored Cadillac of Anson.  Two solid hits on each stack of cars that led to a sky-high, and excellent forward movement, gave Anson a second win on the weekend after being shut out in the Saturday night performance.

Not to be outdone, Schnell found himself again in a familiar setting, as he took home another donut contest victory.

This day seemed to be a battle between the Ford and the Cadillac, as when racing came about, for the first time, Norman was on the outside looking in.  There was no sweep on this day, but it was the first opportunity for Anson to compete for that racing trophy, and to do so it meant a battle alongside his teammate.

The Cadillac found the grip on the asphalt, and onto victory he would go.

With only freestyle remaining, Anson was appearing to be on his way to yet another Titan Cup, laying down an excellent performance for the crowd.  But, Schnell decided to make it a day where the Hot Wheels trucks were on the losing end, as the Bigfoot Ford was on top of the world, a second freestyle win and potentially another Titan Cup on the first weekend of competition.

However, thanks to his racing victory serving as the main tie breaker, Anson earned his second Titan Cup of the weekend, closing out a very successful opening round of the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks LIVE.

SUNDAY RESULTS:

  • Wheelie Competition:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby

  • Donut Contest:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

  • Racing Finals:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby, def. Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber

  • Freestyle:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

  • Titan Cup Champion:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby (Tie-Breaker Rule)

 There’s no time to waste as this new tour is ready to entertain more fans, young and old, that have collected Hot Wheels and now get to see them become full-size beasts.

On the weekend of January 12-13, round 2 of the tour heads to the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio, a homecoming of sorts for the Holman camp as they are based out of Dayton.  It certainly gives the team with the Bone Shaker and Tiger Shark a chance to get back up in the hunt for a championship.

Tickets are available at the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live website, with those attending the afternoon show on January 12 and the stand-alone event on January 13, a chance to attend the Crash Zone pit party prior to the event.

The price of these toys on the track cost thousands of dollars, but judging by the reaction to opening weekend, the price is well worth the thrill of the crowd.

About The Author

A fan since 1988, at the age of 3, Dustin became more involved in the monster truck industry in the last decade. Through his website, All About Horsepower, and images at Horsepower Photography, he provides great insight into the sport.