January 11, 2010
More than 60,000 people jammed into the Georgia Dome on Saturday for the Monster Jam, an evening of enchantment with MONSTER trucks. The evening opened with the song "Proud to be an American" pumped at extreme decibels over the loud speakers. (Really, what's more patriotic then cheering for super-sized trucks as they race around a dirt track and crash and burn?)
Auto-erotic asphyxiation takes on new meaning here. By the time the opening race started, the Dome was already filled with a toxic cloud of smoke. The air smelled like death and tasted like you were sucking on a muffler.
"Live on Speed!" the MC repeatedly shouted from the dirt. Speed was the last thing someone needed for this insanity. "Are you ready?!?" he screamed. The crowd shrieked an ear-splitting shrill that would last non-stop for the next two and half hours.
"It is so exciting to see the trucks flip," said Covington resident Brandi Lucas, who came with her four-year-old child. Saturday marked her eighth visit to Monster Jam. "Sitting where you can smell the fumes and the dirt," she shouted from her front row seat, "How can you not love that?"
Monster Trucks go head-to-head in two competitions throughout the evening. The first, called Monster Jam racing, features trucks racing side-by-side. The truck with the least amount of penalties that crosses the finish line first is declared the winner. The second is Monster Jam Freestyle, in which drivers get a limited amount of time to show off their skills on the open floor.
Karen Futch, who works in guest services at Midtown's upscale Palomar Hotel, anticipates the event every year. "Monster Jam is my favorite holiday," she said excitedly as Monster Trucks attempted impossible feats of gravity in front of her. "It's my favorite day of the year"
"Dirt, trucks and destruction," Futch's boyfriend Michael Campbell added. "What else do you need?"
This post has been altered to correct an error.
(Photos and text by Joeff Davis)