The final day of any 4-Wheel Jamboree is a mixture of emotions. On the one hand, it signals the end of a weekend where 4×4’s, high horsepower, and uniqueness stand out to show off everyone’s individuality in their builds. It means that when Monday comes, it’s back to work for most, and a return to normal.
For the monster truck teams, it’s even more of a mixture of emotions since they know a lot of work was to come once the show ended, but it also meant a chance to let loose during the “go home” performance for the crowd.
The biggest hope of everyone was that the stigma of the Lima O’Reilly Auto Parts 4-Wheel Jamboree would not rear it’s ugly head.
To an extent, it did.
Overnight, a very light but steady rain fell across the Allen County Fairgrounds, but not as though it was a downpour. Sunday morning, there was still a pucker of rain that was pretty much glancing across the area, not bringing enough to make it miserable, but instead enough to make it a challenge. As the hours progressed, everything seemed to look better. The clouds stuck around, but instead of pouring water, they just blocked the sun. After two years of intense storms, Lima was going to make it through without one mud show in the weekend.
All teams were thrashing to ensure everyone was able to make the final performance. Both Hall Brothers entries of Mat Dishman and Kurt Kraehmer were running excellent, so they instead lent a hand to the team of Mike Vaters Sr. and Jr. The elder of the group was still dealing with some transmission woes, but appeared to have it squared away. But, the biggest tear down and fix came from the Overkill Evolution group. The blown shock from the early Saturday performance caused Mike Jr. to run with only a single shock on one corner, and it was not as comfortable as he hoped.
The shock was fixed, and the team had it installed, but the accumulator needed redone due to a blown fitting. Luckily, the teams found a repair shop in Lima that took off one fitting and installed a temporary hose hookup between the accumulator and the shock in order to run through the final day.
Brandon Derrow and the Bad News team was sitting happy with no issues, while Christian Norman and his Bigfoot crew spent a night checking over suspension and the rear sway bar after the Saturday breakage.
By the time Sunday’s afternoon performance came, every truck was tuned up to be at premium performance, and the best blessing, not one rain drop in the sky. It was time to get things roaring for the final time in the Lima infield.
Dishman was already looking ahead to pull off something that’s not been seen since the 2016 season: a racing sweep.
He started the afternoon taking out his teammate, then Derrow fell by the side, meaning the setup was there for Dishman to take home a strong start to his season. Meanwhile, Vaters Jr. made it to the final after taking out Norman following a reprieve in the loser’s bracket. But, in order to take down Dishman, he needed to be perfect.
In the finals, he caught the hole shot, and stayed with it over the plateau. The final jump would be critical as both ramps were steeper than any other competition on the weekend, and each hit with authority.
At the finish, that launch…still wasn’t enough. Dishman powered his Hemi-powered Raminator to his third win of the year, sweeping the Lima weekend, and it allowed him to have over a full event gap in points over both Norman and Vaters Jr. It was a perfect finish for the Hall Brothers in the brackets.
Round 1: Bad News Travels Fast def. Overkill Evolution; Raminator def. General Tire; Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Safety Kleen Black Stallion
Semi-Finals: Raminator def. Bad News Travels Fast; Overkill Evolution def. Lucas Oil Bigfoot
Championship: Raminator def. Overkill Evolution
After the conclusion of the modified tough trucks, it would be the monsters that were closing out the show with not one, but two, competitions. The best trick battle was already shaping up to be who could perfect their skills, but immediately the carnage seemed to begin.
Heading out second, Kraehmer decided to try out the tire bump that gave him a few solid wheelstands the day prior. The hit and rebound were excellent, as he pulled the front end up and hovered the rear of the truck above the dirt. Suddenly a burp of the throttle saw the wheelie bar hit the dirt, and in an instant the truck rocked back and forth on the rear tires like a pendulum on a grandfather clock. Kraehmer tried to bring it down safely, but he was heading right into the concrete barrier, and the Ram 1500 rocked all the way on the roof, and onto it’s side.
Kraehmer already signaled that he was fine, as his wife ran down to check on his well-being. But, he decided to stay in the truck as the loader pulled his machine back onto the tires. Despite the roof and windshield popping loose, the truck fired right up, and back to the pits he went to have the team assess the damage.
In a stunning display, even with a strong wheelie effort by Norman, and a couple poppers by Vaters Jr, it was the single attempt and roll that gave Kraehmer his first official win on the jamboree tour. Although it came at the expense of his second-career roll, it was worth it.
Finally, with every bit of the infield open for use, it was time for freestyle, and it was one word that described the effort by everyone: breakage.
Vaters Sr. started out with a solid run, one of his better performances, but suddenly the truck began sputtering and he hurried to the pits. It seemed the starter suddenly was still engaged and began burning up, ending his run rather quick. Kraehmer then came out, minus the body panels, and had a strong run going, until he hit the backside of the racing finish. The truck stood right up on the tailgate, but in doing so suddenly the lower mounts on the shocks gave out on the rear right corner. He backed up and immediately the truck squatted down, putting an end to what ultimately was a rough afternoon for the sophomore driver.
Derrow put on a strong run, but then Norman again decided to go big in the Lucas Oil “Wildfoot” hoping to finish with a third freestyle victory on the weekend.
But, after a hard hit following a big launch on the near quad, the truck landed and the one shock accumulator became disengaged, which then bent the sway bar end link. With one shock completely blown, his run came to an end extremely quick. At this point, Derrow was holding true for what was to be his first freestyle win with the jamboree. Dishman tried as he might, but his run was not enough either. Only one man was left, and despite being runner up in racing, he requested to go last in the lineup.
Belts pulled tight, engine tuned, and a defending champion at the wheel…the Alien Nation was ready, and Vaters Jr. wasted little time.
His second hit of the run was a bicycle through the second half of the infield, but one that stayed in control and never even touched the sidewalls of the tires. He kept the throttle going with every hit, crossing across the track and hitting obstacles no one had touched yet. Every hit, the suspension took the punishment, until he crawled up to the finish jump and parked the nose on the peak. That is until he popped the truck up on the nose, and slowly left the truck balance out with the throttle and brakes. When it did, with the nose of the Super Duty barely scraping the dirt, he walked the machine like a tight rope for about 150 feet, then brought it back onto all fours before a pair of hits on the quad, including one that was a side slap.
He finally roared in front of the crowd, slid a quick cyclone, then stood out the window as he wiped the sweat off his brow, taking in the cheers of the fans, and ensuring he was the freestyle champion on this wild afternoon.
With that, the Lima experience has come to a close, as the trucks began both the tire-down process, and also the repairs prior to loading up for the next event. For the jamboree, they are taking a bit of a break, as their next show is not only a month away, but also is during the change of season. Spring is over in just over a week, and summer time means a trip from Ohio out to Pennsylvania.
The second round of the 4-Wheel Jamboree season lands at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds in Bloomsburg, PA, for the A&A Auto Stores Summer Nationals.
It is the second-largest crowd that is seen all year long, and it is already shaping up to be a must-see event with the field of trucks that will be attending.
Tickets are already available online, and at participating A&A Auto Stores. Pick them up now, ensuring you don’t miss one moment of the four-show weekend.
POINT STANDINGS (3 of 9 Events)-Wins in Brackets
Raminator – 480 
Lucas Oil Bigfoot – 280
Overkill Evolution – 280
Bad News Travels Fast – 240
General Tire – 160
Black Stallion – 120
Overkill Evolution – 1
Bad News Travels Fast – 1
General Tire – 1
Lucas Oil Bigfoot – 2
Overkill Evolution – 2
Lee Collins-WHR Motorsports
Leah Burdette, Emily Boden-Bonnier Corporation
Brandon Derrow, Ashley Shifflett, Nick Wishard-Bad News Racing
Christian Norman, Drue Epler, Penny Chandler Lopez, Julie Siefker-Bigfoot 4×4, Inc
Tim Hall, Kurt Kraehmer, Mat Dishman, Daniel “Cheech” Agosh-Hall Brothers Racing
Michael Vaters, Mike Vaters Jr, Allison Turner-Vaters Motorsports
Joey Sylvester-High Octane Coffee/Fury Off-Road Tires