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MONSTER TRUCK BASH
 

By LEXI BROEMMER
Local Q Writer

Denver Echternkamp has always loved monster trucks.

Throughout his life, that love has driven him to build his own truck, race it and even organize his own Monster Truck Bash.

His second annual Monster Truck Bash will be held Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22, at Quincy Raceways, 8000 Broadway. Each night, the bash will kick off with a pit party at 5 p.m., and the show will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 each night. Children 3 and younger will be admitted free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at both Quincy Hy-Vee locations, 3700 Broadway and 1400 Harrison; Poage Auto Plaza, 4300 Broadway in Quincy; Quincy Auto Supply, 4817 Broadway; and Poage Auto Plaza, 4270 Paris Gravel Road in Hannibal. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate on the nights of the event.

Monster trucks were introduced to the world when Echternkamp was young, which he believes is a reason why he loves them so much.

“I’ve always been enamored by the big tires and, really, the ridiculousness of them because they’re just a ridiculous vehicle,” he said. “They’re so big and exaggerated and animated and, on one hand, they’re a very basic machine, but, on the other hand, they’re a technologically advanced machine.”

Echternkamp began driving a monster truck years ago. He eventually ended up quitting, though he didn’t stray from the monster truck industry itself.

“I stayed in the industry over the years. I know a lot of people in it, and I just decided to build my own truck and do it again because I missed it,” he said.

Echternkamp built his truck, Venom, about a year and a half ago. He took Venom on the road, visiting shows where he could race it. Soon after, friends and strangers started asking him if he was planning on doing a show in Quincy with it.

“They all wanted to see me run, and Quincy hadn’t had a monster truck show for a few years, so I called a couple of promoters that I had worked for and everybody was either booked up, busy, or just wasn’t interested in doing a show in Quincy,” Echternkamp said. “A buddy of mine who worked for a promoter said ‘Why don’t you just do it yourself?’”

So he did.

The first Monster Truck Bash was held in October 2016. Echternkamp said he plans to keep the show going and make it bigger each year.

At this weekend’s event, there will be racing and freestyle events with six monster trucks. Four — Tailgator, XPD, Heavy Hitter and Venom — appeared in last year’s event. This year they will be joined by Big Kahuna and Basher.

Rock bouncers will also compete on the racecourse and will complete a freestyle event.

Sergeant Smash, a monster truck with 18 seats, will be available for people to ride at an additional cost.

There will also be little monsters, downsized monster trucks, at the event.

Finally, an old-school monster truck will be on display so attendees can see exactly how monster trucks have evolved from their early days.

“It’s just amazing that you can take a 10,000 pound machine that’s 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide, and there are people who have jumped these things 30, 40, 50 feet off the ground, landed them and they drive away and they continue to do their minute and a half freestyle,” he said. “To me, they’re just one of the most amazing pieces of mechanized equipment out there.”

The monster truck industry is also much more diverse than most people would think, according to Echternkamp.

“You have your people that are into it, and then you have people that know what it is but have never been to one, and then you have people that have no idea what it even is,” he said. “Our audience is 50 percent adults and 50 percent kids. ... We have as many women as we do men. We have as many girls as we do boys.”

To all those men, women, girls and boys, Echternkamp suggests heading out to the Monster Truck Bash this weekend.

“People that are into it, it’s one of your only chances in this area to see it, so you want to take advantage of that situation,” Echternkamp said. “If you’ve always been interested in it and wondered what it’s about and you’ve never been to an event, it’s a chance to go see it. It’s something to do to get the kids out of the house, get them off their electronics, and get them out to enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the fresh air. It only comes around once a year.”