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Discussion Starter #1
Is anyone going to the Monster Truck show next weekend in Chandler AZ? I understand that the TT will be there. Is this an official TT event where you can schwag?
 

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SedonaFest will be much cooler and tons more stuff to win :)
do a search here or on adventure4x4.net
 

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Part one

I had to work yesterday morning and again this morning so we missed the Sedona trip we had planned. Needing an FJ fix we decided to head over to Firebird Raceway (since it is 10 minutes from the house) and check out the happenings and see the Trail Teams set up.

First of all, and most important to all who have not been to a Firebird event here is your warning. “BRING ALL YOUR MONEY AND BE READY TO SACRAFICE YOUR FIRST BORN!” Also, if you plan on going out for a couple of hours, don’t, you need to spend a whole day to make it worth the cost; more on all this as I progress.

I had Friday afternoon off so I called my buddy and we decided to do the body mount chop on the FJ. Since we could not make the Sedona Trip on Saturday I thought it would be a nice gesture to invite him to go with the wife and I to the Tire Pros Monster Truck Nationals where I read the Toyota Trail Teams would be set up. Pleased with the work we did on the FJ and “stoked” for more fwd fun he agreed. After completing my work Saturday morning “Jimbo” was called and we rallied at the home base at 10 AM. After a liberal application of sunscreen, we loaded in the freshly modded FJ and rolled the short drive south on I-10 to the Firebird exit.

Once near Firebird, it was the usual conglomeration of unclear signs, confused staff and misdirection that is a hallmark of all our 25 years of attending events at Firebird. As “Veterans” of the facility we just look for a clear shot to the long drive that leads to the drive through booths/canopy east of the drag strip. The key here is navigating the three or four dozen, totally confused, other attendee’s who stop next to every person wearing clothing/I.D. badge that looks like they may know something. At times this looked like the Shriners traded their mini cars from the parade for mismatched cars and jacked up trucks and in doing lost all sense of cohesion.

Here is where your wallet begins its Firebird Crash Diet. Once you reach the “Toll Booths” it was $9.00 to be granted entry for the privilege to drive as far away from the event as possible and park. The slow ride south following a slew of hand waving youth meant to direct us to an organized parking location gave us a chance to see that there was a good deal of activity all around the Firebird Sports Park. To the west of the main drive, behind the chain link fence were several hundred RV of all sorts and their event vehicles which consisted of motorcycles, ATV’s, mini buggies, side-by-sides and various forms of FWD/Off-road vehicles. This was the “Whiplash Off-road Racing” section of the event. The huge cloud of dust that hung over the area indicated that they were in full throttle on the course with one of the class events. I turned East, following the beckoning hands of several different bored youth in Oh So Official traffic safety vests, and slid the FJ in next to a family unloading their Tahoe. Well I would have except for the fact that “Mom” had all the passenger doors opened to full extent and was piling gear in the spot the youth in the safety vest had designated was our $9.00 parking location. Patience is a virtue and I learned that honking the stock FJ horn only embarrasses me so we waited for one of the bored youth to chastise the woman for holding up their parking process. It worked but the woman shot me a look that indicated that she clearly believed her chastisement was all my fault. You got to love modern day, self-involved people; now back to me!

We unloaded; being sure not to replicate the delays we experienced upon the car next to us, and began the ¼ mile walk to the event ticket sales booth. I know it was a ¼ mile because we were parked just South of even with the end track timing lights and the ticket booth was just South of the “Christmas Tree”. All being “Lug Nuts”, we took the opportunity to rate, ogle and critique the various rigs in the parking lot as we passed. Also holding true for such events, some of the nicest and most innovative vehicles are on this side of the event gates. As the parking lot ended and we neared the start of the actual event, the first thing we encountered was a test drive course set up by JEEPtm as well as some stock and modded display rigs scattered about the fenced course. As we passed, there was a passably attractive blonde behind the wheel of a Commander being given directions by the rep in the back seat on how to “surmount” the upcoming “Splash Pool” approach and subsequent departure ramps. I actually think I heard her squeal as she nosed it up and over the entry ramp and into the wadding pool that waited. Ahhhh, another off-road enthusiast is born! Moving on past the entrance to the JEEPtm driving experience and shunning the invitations to “Experience the performance of the new JEEPtm line of trail capable vehicles” being offered by two more perky blondes in JEEPtm attire we headed to the event ticket booth.

Choosing a window, which seemed to be equal in length to the others, I waited for my turn to make my second offering/sacrifice to the Firebird. Being a veteran to such events, I knew that the place would begin to get busy later in the evening and good general admission seating can/is hard to get late in the day, I asked for “3 reserved w/ pit”. I kissed my “zero balance due” on the special “Drivers Edge Charter Platinum” card good bye and slid it through the opening. The woman slid out three tickets and I looked to see where we would be seated and saw nothing stated. “Where do we get our reserve seat designation?” “You wanted Reserved Seating? Oh you have to go to the line at the next window.” and she nodded to the guy sitting 11’ to her left. Stepping back to see how I blundered she added, “We really should put a sign up over his window shouldn’t we!” Sacrifice is never easy. After changing windows and seeing that my card would reflect a charge of $135.00 I distributed the tickets to my partners in the days expedition and looked for the entry point under the awning. To be fair on the ticket pricing, we have been to like events here and paid the $45.00/ person for just a single event but in this case, the entry fee included the Tire Pro event, the IHBA drag boat races, the Ultralite oval boat racing and the Whiplash events across the parking lot. Not as bad a deal when you look at it in the broader scope. None of these events are truly worth the high gate on their own, but in combination as they were here, a good value for the dedicated, diverse “Motor Head” or “Lug Nut”. Of course when you factor back in the $10.50 Cheeseburgers, $8.50 hotdogs, $4.50 fries, $2.50 12oz bottles of water and the inability to bring in your own food/drink…you understand the need for being not so devoted the “First born” now.

Handing our tickets to the guy seated under the awning we were encouraged by the friendly “Enjoy your day” he offered as we moved on into the actual event. What is it they say? “Getting there is half the adventure!”

More when I get back from work today. Yea, until writing pays for the credit cards, I have a real job.
 

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You got to love modern day, self-involved people; now back to me!
LOL priceless
 

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Discussion Starter #7
$33 for the ticket plus $9 for parking not to mention the gas from and to Tucson. The good news is that the TT guys were great and I got everything I went up there for!
 

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Part 2 “Went to a 4WD event and a boat race broke out!”

...and the Trail Team booth visit was how much?
The booth was open to all. Even the Drag Race Dyno of the Tundra (covered below) required only a valid drivers license.



To say the product vendor turn out is less than spectacular at this (and like) events is generous and kind. The Military and their new recruiting efforts made up possibly 15-20% of the vendor offerings. I love seeing the military making the most of every opportunity to introduce their offerings to the enlistment age attendees. They had a climbing wall and a tricked out Hummer H3 and plenty of military “SWAG”. (Where did this term come from and how do we eradicate it from our vocabulary…I digress) Those actual 4WD/automotive vendors that were in place, 4Wheel Parts, Trail Master, Tire Pro and a couple of stereo shops and custom houses were offering some pretty good event deals. Unfortunately nothing for the FJ and I am too early in to be considering things for the Super Duty. The layout for the vendors was good, well planned to insure that no vendor was left in a “non traffic corner” booth. This also means that to get in or out you have to wind your way back and forth. A “get you in and keep you” design the casinos of Las Vegas have perfected. We were here to extend the “Joy of FJ Ownership” so we pressed past the eye candy to the Trail Teams camp.

At the furthest physical point from where we are parked we find the Trail Teams camp and the Millen FJ and a TRD Tacoma set up on display. Behind the camp they were offering the opportunity to demo one of the two TT editions, white FJ’s as well as a Tacoma and I think they had a Tundra as well but I was not that interested in the trucks. They had the Millen FJ all set up for having your “Official Trail Teams Photo” taken which they link to a ID badge on a special FJ Cruiser lanyard. The “SWAG Whores” were swarming the display table snapping up anything that they believed was free and stuffing it into their JEEPtm “Swagbag”. I was hoping they might have the Millen Race FJ but instead it was a pretty stock black TT with all the Millen sponsor tagging on it. Still an FJ so the fix was getting met. As we milled about, around, under and over the display rig I had the chance to talk with the Trail Teams staff…what a great bunch of guys. It appears, from our discussion about all things FJ, that they had plans of doing a really sweet trail test area as they had/have done at other Trail Teams events but apparently the venue here did not allow them the space required. (Unlike the space JEEPtm set up) I mentioned that JEEPtm had brought in local vehicles with various mods/build ups to add local real world flavor to their displays and a couple local FJ’s could add some spice to their own. They agreed, but again, they were limited on space and were making the best of what they had.

I was happily informed that the guys actually followed the forum some and had spent some time reading the stuff in the “AZFJ non-club club section”. They have apparently met several of the locals on or at trail events and had the most glowing comments on the AZFJ community and this forum community as a whole. “They are really and honestly some of the most friendly and helpful 4 wheelers we encounter” was the quote I am please to pass on to one and all who read this. We talked for about an hour as the crowd continued to sweep through snagging all the free promo gear and taking test rides to get a free hat. They were not all that familiar with the area so we discussed local trails, the Sedona Fest none of us were able to make, and things to see as they headed for the “Thrill on the Hill” event in Alamogordo, N.M. and further north to the “Chili Challenge” event in Angel Fire, N.M. (If you have never been to Angel Fire, its one beautiful place) Honestly, I kept thinking “what a sweet job these guys have. To promote something you are enthusiastic about and share that with others on a regular basis.” even as they lamented the long, hard road hours driving between events as they crisscross the country. After discussing everything from the latest Toyota offerings and what we would like to see in the upcoming FJ’s to conspiracy theories, the “Phoenix Lights” and crop circles, it was time to let them get on with touting the virtues of Toyota to the uncaring “swag whores” that filled the display area. (Yea, we got the obligatory photo next to the Millen FJ before we left and to the Trail Teams staff, thanks for the great FJ fix!)

Crossing behind the staging area of the drag strip and up the rise, Toyota had more of its display wherein they had invited local Toyota dealers to “Customize” a Tundra and send it out as an offering of their own taste and what is possible with a new Tundra truck. There were street trucks and some pretty well done and wild 4x4’s. One was built out as the ultimate tailgating Tundra and was pretty interesting if not worthless for anything BUT tailgating. On a display ahead they had a mega screen over a stage displaying Toyota promo video and a “Tundra vs. Silverado” drag race display that let you actually drag race both trucks as a display of the new Tundra’s power and performance on a stationary dyno. It is likely no surprise that except for the demo drivers that “red lit” the Tundra, the Chevy was beat every run.

Beyond that was the “Show and Shine” display where in again there was everything from a chopped, shaved and lowered Suburban in candy flake orange to an H2 that was lifted at least 12” with the largest “swampers” I have ever see as street legal. About 20 vehicles total but nothing that really stood out as “wow” which is a shame for a show and shine event. From here the sound of nitro motors (and midday sun) drew us to the shaded grandstand that overlooked the Firebird lake where they were holding time trials of the IHBA and qualifying for the ULHRA. Having been to the IHBA events here in the past, it was a fun add to the 4WD event rather than a stand alone event but the wife had never seen boat races of any kind in person so we spent a great deal of the rest of the day watching the boats run. In truth, since my work called with an issue, we spent the rest of the day watching the boats before having to heed the call of duty and act responsible once more.
 
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