Bari's Adventures Pittsburgh, PA and Cleveland, OH
Mar 5, 2012
This special edition of Bari's Adventures is pretty close to my heart because it features a 2 week journey back to my home town that started out in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in week 7 of the 2012 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® tour! I currently call Orlando Florida home, but I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, and I also have relatives that live in Pittsburgh! Needless to say I was excited to make this trip back to see friends and family! I got in town Thursday and was able to visit with my Grandmother and great Aunt! They took me around town to show me there old stomping grounds when they were kids! There is so much history to take in when you're cruising around the Steel City especially when you have such a fabulous grandmother and great Aunt as your personal tour guides! We toured around the part of the city known as "the Hill" where we visited the site where my Great Grandfather Luther H. Johnson's Photo Studio used to be. I had to get out and take a photo of the sign which signified the area as a Historic landmark!
Friday I had some time to explore before the evening show so I decided to check out the Pittsburgh International Auto Show, which happened to be in town at a nearby convention center! Since I'm in the market for a new vehicle this was the perfect place to go to take a look at the awesome cars and trucks below and maybe you guys can help me make a choice!
This year's Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam in Pittsburgh took place at the 2 year old Console Energy Center home of the Pittsburgh Penguins! My Grandmother who has always supported my dream of Monster Truck driving would be in attendance as well has a few cousins, and my great Aunt and Uncle! With 4 big shows ahead of me and the competition in the form of a stacked field including 2 time racing champion John Seasock and 9 time World Champion Tom Meents, I was ready to put Spider-Man through the paces! In Friday night's Wheelie Contest I was able to Stand Spidey up for a score of 25.
In racing I was able to take out John Seasock in the Advance Auto Parts Grinder in round one, but fell short against my teammate Chad Tingler in Grave Digger® in round 2.
Friday night's Freestyle competition brought a 2nd place Freestyle finish to Tom Meents in Maximum Destructon®. With some big time air I was able to finish 2 points shy of the win!
Saturday morning we kicked off the day with the Advance Auto Parts Service is our Best part Party in the pits! As you know I always cherish this time with the fans, and I always have to take the time out to snag a photo with the die-hard Spider-Man fans that come in full Spider-Man attire!
Once the pit party came to a close, I set my mind toward getting some redemption in racing as I was able to take out Grinder again in round 1 and Crushtation in round 2 to earn a finals round match up with none other than the 9 time champ Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction! Once the light turned Green we both put the hammer down and each truck launched off the starting line pulling the front wheels off the ground and carrying them all the way to the ramp. As we crossed the finish line together it would be Meents edging me out in a photo finish!
After the dust cleared from racing it was time for Freestyle! For the 2nd time in as many shows I put the truck through the ringer in the small confines of the area and was able to take home 2nd place again this time only 1 point shy of Meents!
After a handful of 2nd place finishes so far, I was bound and determined to put Spider-Man in the winner's circle in the Saturday night racing bracket! I was able to work my way back to the UTI Championship round by taking out Grinder in round 1 and Grave Digger in round 2. I would have my chance at revenge in the finals as I faced off with Maximum Destruction again, this time the tables were turned as I put my foot to the floor earning the final round win!
I had a great time in Pittsburgh and I look forward to going back in the future! Before I made my way to My home town of Cleveland Ohio I had to stop by Hobby Town USA where my buddy Morris Aschkenas works! They had a pretty cool set up! Morris even had his custom made R/C Zamboni on display!
After a short visit it was time to hit the road for the quick jaunt over to Cleveland. I was really looking forward to seeing my family and friends since it had been years since the last time I traveled home! Once I arrived I had a full week's worth of PR and Media obligations scheduled! I started out on Tuesday visiting four East Cleveland City Schools to share my inspirational story about how I managed to make my dreams come true! I started out the morning talking to kids at Superior Elementary and Chambers Elementary Schools, followed by Shaw High School with Heritage Middle School rounding out the tour! I was so grateful to have an opportunity to share some words of inspiration to the kids in hopes that it would inspire them to follow their dreams as well! I was able to give away some tickets to some lucky and attentive children so they could check out the Advance Auto parts Monster Jam at Quicken Loans Arena throughout the weekend!
Wednesday I had a few phone Interviews with the Cleveland Scene and Cleveland Examiner Newspapers and a taped interview at Action 19 News with Sports Anchor Tony Zarrella! Check out the interview here! http://www.woio.com/category/211979/video-landing-page?clipId=6776800&flvUri&partnerclipid&topVideoCatNo=0&c&autoStart=true&activePane=info&LaunchPageAdTag=homepage&clipFormat=flv
That evening I got to make an appearance at the Cleveland Cavilers Basketball game where I got to participate in a time out activity throwing free tee-shirts into the crowd. A lucky fan would even find free tickets to the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam wrapped up in their shirt. I was joined at the game by my Mother, Father and Grandmother for a fun family night out!
If you're wondering about the Pretzel in the shape of a "Q" that I'm holding it signifies the Name of the Arena which is nick named "The Q" short for Quicken Loans Arena! I had to get one since Soft Pretzels are one of my all time favorites!
During the day Thursday I had some free time so I decided to go check out the I-X Center which is the site where we are having a big R/C Monster Truck event called the High Voltage R/C Monster Truck Championships coming up this October! This is a huge convention center, and in fact they were staging the floor for the Cleveland International Auto Show. The I-X Center even features a huge Farris wheel in the center of the floor that is taller than the actual roof of the building so when you reach the top of the ride you are actually above the roof looking out through a glass canopy!
After visiting the I-X Center I stopped by Strongsville hobbies to check out their facility! They were stocked with the latest Traxxas RC Monster Jam Replica Trucks and more parts then you could ever thing about breaking!
Thursday evening I had a Radio Interview with 92.3 The Fan, which is a local sports talk radio station. I also got to go back to "The Q" for the Lake Erie Monsters Hockey game to get the crowd pumped up at the beginning of the game by cranking up this sweet loud siren for a cool audible effect! We then played a "Name that Tune" game with some lucky fans and the winner received tickets to the Monster Jam as well as a Spider-Man Puff Truck!
Well with all the PR and Media in the books, I went to pick up my wife and daughter from the airport Friday afternoon. I showed them around Cleveland a bit and I had to show them where I grew up and the schools I attended since this was there first time in Cleveland! My daughter actually got her wish to see snow for the first time!
Once Friday evening fell it was time to get down to business in front of the home town crowd! When I found out I had this show on my schedule I could not wait to represent for all of Cleveland because I was that kid in the stands 12 to 15 years ago sitting in these very seats watching Monster Jam wishing one day I would be out there living my dreams! Well that day has come! We kicked off the weekend with a private Pit party with some of Cleveland's great Boy scouts. This was a special VIP hour that we got to spend with them! Once show time rolled around we started with the Wheelie contest where I stood Spider-Man straight up and down past vertical landing on the rear wheelie bar earning me a score of 27 which came up 1 point short to my teammate Chad Tingler and Grave Digger.
With the Crowd behind me I was ready to feed off their energy in racing! I was able to take out Madusa and Grave Digger to earn a spot in the UTI Championship round against Lupe Sosa in his Advance Auto Parts Grinder! I was able to get a good Whole shot when the light turned green and sailed across the finish line first for the first racing win of the weekend!
Talk about icing on the cake! It was one more dream come true to take home a win in front of the home town crowd! Needless to say I wanted to carry that momentum into Freestyle. I pushed the 1500 horse power beast hard, getting some pretty good air with the space we had to work with! Once the dust cleared I was declared the winner over my Team mate Chad Tingler in Grave Digger!
By Saturday I was feeling good about how the weekend was going! After our 2nd Party in the Pits of the weekend, I was able to claim another racing victory over Randy Moore in War Wizard! With the momentum of having 3 wins so far throughout the weekend I decided to see just how much air I could get in Freestyle. I had a great run going until a big air jump broke the driver side front spindle which snapped the wheel off and ended my run. I still managed a score of 18, with leaving time on the clock!
My great crew David Olfert and Nate Kirshner got right on fixing the truck so it was back to 100% for the Saturday evening show! Check out what goes into getting Spider-Man repaired and ready to hit the track again in less than 2 hours!
With the Truck ready to go, I was ready to put it through the paces again in the Saturday evening show! I didn't waste any time as I was pretty pumped with all the friends and family in attendance at this show. I was able to pull of my best wheelie to date in the wheelie contest, standing the truck up past vertical and walking it all the way across the cars for the win!
In racing I managed to work my way all the way back to the UTI Championship round where I would face Lupe Sosa in Grinder! This time Lupe was able to edge me out in a photo finish! As I turned my focus from racing to freestyle I wanted to rock the house for the last time of the day! I skied my way to score of 24!
Sunday marked the final show in Cleveland and I was egger to get the Party in the pits underway to take some photos with the great fans, as well as my family!
I was able to take home 1 final win for the weekend in racing in the Sunday show over my Teammate Chad Tingler in Grave Digger! I had such a great time during my adventure home, and I hope I get to do this again next year! I have so many people to thank for such a memorable weekend! First I have to thanks my parents, my grandmother, my team Jenn Yokley, Bethany Masters, Eric Krush and everyone who made my trip home a success! We travel to Indianapolis Indiana next for a big show inside Lucas Oil Stadium! For more info on this event visit http://www.monsterjam.com/Events/2012/03/03/Indianapolis,_IN/
I would like to thank Marcus Knopsnider, Jeremy
Puglisi, and Eric Krush for all the great action photos for this edition of
Until next time take care
2011 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year!