I recently attended the United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) Monster Truck Jam in Providence, RI. All four events— monster truck racing, monster truck "freestyle", ATV racing and motorcross jumping— were as rigged as a 18th century sailing vessel. "Quad wars" pitted the black-shirts ("Team New York") vs. red, white and blue ("Team New England"), complete with crowd-baiting interviews. Guess who won. And was there ever any doubt that Grave Digger, the Hulk Hogan of monster trucks, would kick monster butt? The only genuine moment came when Thrasher blew up. Serves them right. Click through for more monster insights.

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Monster trucks are themed liked Championship Wrestlers. The names tend towards animism (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, El Toro Loco, Monster Mutt, Arachnophobia, Reptoid) and Arnie movies that never were (Avenger, Devastator, Destroyer, Equalizer, Eradicator, Thrasher). My personal favorite is Wild Hair, whose driver has a buzz cut. Post-ironic monster trucks indeed.

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You cannot believe the noise these things make at full chat. It?s physically painful even if you?ve got the official $1 foam earplugs jammed into your brain stem. There?s not a Hell of a lot these? things can do inside an auditorium (notice the dumpster performing double duty as a crash barrier). Wheelie, aural assault, turn; wheelie, aural assault, turn; etc. It?s like Flamenco: after the first ten minutes, you?re done. Needless to say, my seven-year-old step-daughter loved it. I just wished I could have brought a member of the Sierra Club with me.    

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