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‘Trucks Gone Mad’ invades Lee Civic Center

July 15, 2014
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Thousands braved the heat and rain to come to the Lee Civic Center to see lots of trucks and even more mud.

Hardcore Events and Entertainment, which has presented demolition derbies and other thrilling motor sports spectacles, presented its "Trucks Gone Mad" event, an all-day extravaganza featuring Tuff Truck competition, mud drag races, back to back truck pulls and more.

Fans got thrills, chills, and if they sat close enough, very dirty in the process.

Promoter Andrew Spampinato said the appeal for fans was family fun, where people of all ages can spend a day indulging in this guilty pleasure.

"It's today's thing out here. People love to mud race, and truck pulls are a big thing," Spampinato said. "I started this last year with a big monster truck show and everyone enjoyed it, so we have the whole year booked for these kind of events."

The event featured mud drag racing in three classes, stock, pro, and modified, and truck pulls in the evening. It also featured an airboat and buggy car show, with the event ending with a live performance from "The Damn Outlaws" featuring Cory Greenway.

Gator Country 101.9 FM sponsored the event, and the fans got to know a little of what it's all about.

"This is perfect for us. It's a lifestyle event that we want to represent so here we are," said Michelle Martin of Gator Country. "The fans are going to get a good show and maybe we'll get a few more listeners."

Fans got to visit the pits early and waited patiently through the thunderstorms as the trucks and jeeps made their way to the mud bog to fling mud.

Driver Jim Sylvester of Big Daddy Motor Racing, a small outfit that competes in these events throughout the southeast, was one of those the fans got to meet.

"We've been doing this a long time using all sorts of machines. People enjoy watching them run through the mud. These events are getting like a monster jam," Sylvester said. "We run about 50 to 60 events a year. We don't make much. It's just a fun thing to do."

It became apparent that Lane 1 was the place to be, as all the runoff from the rain went into the other lane, where nearly everyone got stuck and had to endure the shame of having his truck pulled out of the bog by a bulldozer.

Those who had a front row seat got to be participants, as many of them wore the playing field on their clothing and hair.

One woman, Renee Levan, of Naples, came to the event in a white dress, got it speckled with dirt, and thus violated one of the two rules of wearing white; don't wear it after Labor Day, and never to a mud drag race.

"I love the mud and I like to show off. It's a free country. I love mud, I love racing, right on," Levan said.

Danielle Stakich, of Cape Coral, brought her young son and a friend to the event after winning tickets from Gator Country because the son loves monster trucks.

"He loves anything to do with mud and big trucks, and we go to Monster Jams all the time, so we had to come today," Stakich said. "I'm just waiting to get muddy. I'm going to get a beer first. I'm working on it."



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