Monster Trucks Invade Champion Chevy of Fowlerville

September 6th, 2016 by

Monster Trucks Invade Champion Chevy of Fowlerville


If riding shotgun in a 12-foot high, 12-foot wide Monster Truck with 66-inch, off-road tires is your dream come true, then ATR Motorsports and Champion Chevrolet of Fowlerville can make it happen Friday, Sept. 23. It’ll only cost you a can of food, donated for Family Impact Center.

The two companies are pairing up to offer enthusiasts of all ages a chance to bounce around in Bone Crusher and Above the Rest on a specially-built obstacle course behind the dealership at 880 S. Main in Fowlerville, just north of I-96. You can also take pictures with authentic competition trucks, see how these legendary vehicles are put together up close and personal and talk with Monster Truck drivers.

Did you know that the average Monster Truck driver only earns $35,000? That means these drivers are in it for the glory, for the thrill of competition and to meet people who share their love of the sport.

“My entire family has been in the seat of a Monster Truck competing at one time or another,” said Dave Rife, owner of Fowlerville’s own ATR Motorsports, which operates seven Monster Trucks and promotes shows throughout Michigan and beyond.

Looking back, nobody is more surprised than him how his career came to be. “I used to think big trucks were stupid,” he said, but a quick stint behind the wheel of his brother’s lifted truck changed his way of thinking.

“When I built my first Monster Truck 27 years ago, I just wanted to show it off like everyone else,” he said.

That would have been around 1990. Keep in mind that Monster Trucks played backseat to Motocross sports until the early 80s when Bob Chandler made the infamous video at Pontiac Silverdome of his Monster Truck, Bigfoot, crushing a line of demolition cars. The sport started to grow into its own at that point, but even then competitions were limited to single-elimination drag races

Rife entered his first competition at Ingham County Fairgrounds and came in second.

“I wasn’t even trying,” he said, “but I walked away thinking I can win this, so I went home and tore everything off the truck to make it lighter and faster.” He won first place and bragging rights the next year.

The industry has since exploded in popularity, the types of competitions and money-making opportunities. Rife himself has travelled the world racing, promoting and winning cash prizes.

“The best place I’ve competed is South America. It was just a great experience and good crowds; but the coolest place I’ve competed is at Pontiac Silverdome, because I once sat up in those stands looking down at the track wondering if I would ever get there.”

There have been plenty of bumps in Rife’s journey. Each time one of his $250,000 Monster Trucks takes a wrong turn, the damage to his truck and body can be costly. Thankfully, his trucks have taken the brunt of injury over the years, but whenever you get 10,000-plus pounds of high-powered, high-pressure, high-torque machinery coming into contact with something else, there is a chance someone can get hurt, evidenced by the number of deaths and injuries to drivers and spectators alike. An unfortunate Monster Truck accident even claimed the life of a sports announcer in 2009.

Despite the danger, more than 3.5 million people go to shows just in the United States, Canada and Europe annually. It’s unknown how many people attend Monster Truck shows in other countries.

That said, who knows when people will have such easy access to trucks like these again so why wouldn’t people come by? It’s free to ride, we’ll even be giving away prizes and having a pig roast to make it a real party. Come see us from 2 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.

Written by New Car Sales Manager Mike Kelly of Champion Automotive Group, serving Livingston County and beyond for 30 years and counting, with locations in Brighton, Howell and Fowlerville. Questions should be directed to



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