by John Santos
Swimming pools, movies stars. That’s what most of the country thinks when they hear about Los Angeles. Monster Trucks for some reason never seem to make the list. But what many don’t know is the Los Angeles, and Southern California in general is quite the hotspot for Monster Trucks, off road racing, and even the occasional Demolition Derby. This is evidenced by the annual Grand slam of Motorsports held here every January and February. While it’s made its home down in Anaheim in recent years, it has returned to the Los Angeles area with a stop at Dodger stadium. And while the Monster Truck enthusiast in me would like to check it out for old time sakes, I feel that it wouldn’t hold a candle to the late 90’s when the Grand Slam of Motorsports would take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
For this teenager, getting a chance to see his favorite Monster Truck in person was a sight to see. Yes, the one and only…………………………….Monster Patrol. What, you thought I was one of those Grave Digger Bandwagon Jumpers? No disrespect to Grave Digger, but maybe it was the sirens and flashing lights, or the huge win in the back, Monster Patrol was always my favorite. So to see it in action on a cool January evening in 1998, it was a sight to see. Adding to the list of events that day in front of over 40,000 fans was a flasher nicknamed “Buffy” who was caught on big screen (I was looking away for some reason and never actually saw), Robosaurus eating a few cars, a Northern California vs. Southern California off road race that ended quite violently, and an exciting Demolition Derby to close out the evening. #99 was among the last 4 cars, but didn’t quite have enough to win it all.
Perhaps it’s the proximity to home, the history contained within the walls of the Coliseum, me and two brothers getting along peacefully for the evening, or perhaps all three elements combined that played their part in making the evening a memorable one.