Heavy Hitter is among the trucks scheduled to appear. Photo contributed by Eddie Gray.
The Monster Truck All-Stars, Tennessee Slammers and Bangers Demolition Derby, and brand-new truck and tractor pulls will roar into the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray this week as the Appalachian Fair returns for its 87th year.
“Kids and adults are monster truck crazy, and tractor pulling — they just like to see horse power and carnage, and they like to see stuff get torn up and good looking vehicles,” said Randy Moore, owner of and driver for War Wizards Racing, which is hosting the monster truck events and truck and tractor pulls.
War Wizards Racing, based in Bristol, Tenn., boasts the world’s fastest monster truck among its five-truck stable. Its show at the fair will include 15- to 20-foot jumps, races and freestyle segments.
The action begins at 6 p.m., Monday in the CrestPoint Health Appalachian Arena with War Wizard Racing, followed by a truck pull competition for 8,500-pound diesel work stock trucks. Each will pull a sled weighing approximately 30,000 pounds. Winners — chosen based on which truck pulls the sled the fastest or the longest distance — will receive $300 for first place, $200 for second, $100 for third, $75 for fourth and $50 for fifth.
Between 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, visitors will see monster truck races and freestyle routines as well as side-by-side UTV races. In the races, two monster trucks will begin side by side, race the track, complete a jump going opposite directions and finish where they began. The average monster truck has about six-foot tires, weighs 10,000 pounds and sits 10 feet tall.
Two of the featured monster trucks, the War Wizard and Bad News Travels Fast, are on the Monster Jam series on Speed. The other three trucks at the event will be Full Boar, Heavy Hitter and River Rat.
In the freestyle segment, each truck driver will be allotted 90 seconds to wow the audience with their amazing stunts, such as jumps, donuts, cyclones and slap wheelies (tje truck comes off a jump and the front slams down.)
“That’s always the climax,” Moore said. “Fans are always waiting for that. If the trucks are going to get tore up, that’s when they’ll do it.”
Each truck costs about $250,000 to build and about $100,000 annually to maintain. Moore said that without their sponsors, Hedman Hedders and Hot Wheels, they would not be able to host these events or build these gigantic vehicles.
Not only will the crowd get to see incredible feats and potential wreckage, but it will also choose the winner of the freestyle competition.
“It’s not who we like the best,” said Moore, “It’s who they like the best.”
On Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be more War Wizard Racing stunts and two tractor pull competitions, in which each tractor will tow approximately 30,000 pounds.
The 5,500-pound hot rod tractors are designed specifically for competition and are typically not used in a working environment like the antique 4,000- to 6,000-pound tractors have been.
In the hot rod tractor competition, $300 will be awarded to the first-place winner, $200 to second, and $100 to third. The first-place winner in the antique tractor pull will get $150, followed by $100 to the second-place winner and $50 to third.
On Friday night, four- and six-cylinder front-wheel drive cars will collide in the Tennessee Slammers and Bangers Demolition Derby. The Saturday demolition derby will feature 1980 or newer factory stock cars. Both events begin at 7:30 p.m.
The cost of monster truck events, tractor and truck pulls and the demolition derbies is included in the gate admission price of $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-11.
Other events at the fair this year include a Battle of the Bands, Cornhole Tournament, Fairest of the Fair, as well as livestock, food and retail vendors.
For more information, visit www.appalachianfair.com.