Monster trucks entertain locals at Johnson County Fair

All-star monster trucks headed to Johnson County Fair for the first time.


Tian Liu

Heavy Hitter jumps over a car during the first-evert All-Star Monster Trucks show at the Johnson County Fair on July 21, 2019.

Tian Liu, News Reporter

All seats for the monster-truck show were taken before the grandstand gates even opened. The crowds filled with families gathered at the Johnson County Fairgrounds on the evening of July 21 for the first-ever All-Star Monster Trucks show in Iowa City.

Latecomers gathered behind the benches and sat on the grass. Among the crowds, lots of people, especially kids, were wearing headphones to get ready for the loud performance.

“We are just very excited to come to Iowa City,” said Bryan Wagner, the president of All-Star Motorsport Productions. “We’ve been doing this for over 10 years. And we produced over 50 events every single year. We go over all across Iowa as well. But this will be the first time we will be at the Johnson County Fair in Iowa City.” Wagner said this year, the production would do moree than 60 performances across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The event has two parts. One is the competition among the three all-star monster trucks. Wagner said three of the top monster trucks in the country attended the battle: Heavy Hitter, Basher, and Against the Grain.

“It is a completed competition,” Wagner said. “All the monster trucks will be the three small competitions during the events.”

Tian Liu
Heavy Hitter jumps over the cars during the first-evert All-Star Monster Trucks show at the Johnson County Fair on July 21, 2019.

The competition categories are best trick, obstacle course racing, and freestyle. Each of will earn points toward overall champion for Johnson County.

“The locals can compete in between the monster truck competitions, which is called [the] Rough Truck Challenge,” Wagner said. “It is open to any cars, truck, or SUV, and locals can take their own vehicles and race over smaller dirt jumps and tight turns.”

Easton Luke, a 4-year-old at the show, said it’s his first time to see a monster-truck performance. He had only seen motorcycle competitions before.

While the all-star monster truck Heavy Hitter was both his and his twin sister, Macy’s, favorite, he enjoyed the performance more than her.

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“I like what [the monster trucks] did,” Easton said. “The doughnut[-like route the driver] just did. It ran around in circles.”

Macy said she thought the performance was cool, but she liked the appearances of the trucks more than the driving. The dog decorated on the Heavy Hitter drew her attention.

“My sister told [me] about [the show] because she lives up here, ” said their mother, Jerrica Luke. “We just thought they would like it, something they have never seen before. So we come together.”

Tian Liu
Easton Luke plays flag during the first-evert All-Star Monster Trucks show at the Johnson County Fair on July 21, 2019.

The Luke family is from Washington, Iowa.

Another family also enjoyed the show. Joe Heath, who is from Iowa City, said though it’s a lot of fun to watch, the noise keeps them at the top of the hill.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen it here … the kids like it, it’s fine,” Heath said. “[It’s a] good event, come out here for free.”

Wagner said he believed the freestyle competition was the highlight of the event. Because there were no rules and no time limit, the drivers could do whatever they wanted on the huge courses.

A small accident occured when a small blue car was trying to race over small dirt jumps during the Rough Truck Challenge. The blue car was towed out by a trailer.

Younger audiences seemed to enjoy that the most.

“Kids really liked the broken car,” Heath said.