Bari Musawwir's Toledo Adventures
By Bari "BAM" Musawwir
Mar 22, 2011
With only 3 weeks left in my Rookie Season of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam, I was bound and determined to finish out the season with a bang. After a week off I was excited to head to Toledo Ohio as this would be the closest I would get to my home town of Cleveland Ohio. A bunch of family and friends were set and ready to make their way to the Huntington Center in down town Toledo to see myself and El Toro Loco fly high! I arrived in Toledo Thursday evening in time to catch the tail end of a cool El Toro Loco Display at a Taco Bell in nearby Perrysburg Ohio. As the crew was loading up we pulled the crazy bull through the drive though on the transport tires. But for some strange reason they couldn’t hear our order, even with the Magnaflow mufflers installed, they said it was still too loud LOL.
After we got our order sorted out we had an awesome 4th meal from the great folks at Taco Bell. We made our way through the snowy conditions to the arena to get El Toro and Digger tired up and ready for an early 5am morning media news session.
Once we put a wrap on morning media we met up with a true Monster Jam family of Superfans. The Timm family from Alma, Michigan treated us to breakfast back at the hotel. They also had a special surprise planned for Rod back at their room. We headed back to their room to discover they had a custom birthday cake for Rod’s Birthday! They also had an awesome custom made blanket to keep Rod warm during those cold Iowa winter nights LOL. These great gifts inspired me to not be out done, so we came up with a plan to get Rod another gift which we would present to him later in the weekend which I will reveal later. Check out the cake complete with tiara and wand! Classic!
After getting a good laugh at the cake, we decided to go check out Toledo’s Super Wal-Mart to see what Monster Jam Hot wheels they had; yes we all do it LOL. This also gave me the perfect opportunity to find a great birthday card for my Grandmother who would get to witness her first born grandson live out his dreams the following day on her birthday. And speaking of Birthdays I had to sneak and get Rods gift and have the cashier triple bag it so he would not be able to see through the bag on the way to the car. We also stopped in a few hobby shops to see what they had to offer. Hobby Town USA and Hobby Stop West had a great selection of Radio Controlled Hobbies for all ages.
Once we were done at the hobby shops it was time to head back to the arena to get ready for Friday nights action inside the sold out Huntington Center. This year’s lineup featured Veteran Monster Truck builder and racer Dan Patrick and Samson, along with Dave Rappach and Rap Attack, Ed Eckerd with Fullboar, Jocelyn Perrin with her brand new Lil' Miss Dangerous is High Maintenance Truck and of course birthday boy himself Rod Schmidt and Grave Digger. We kicked off Friday Night’s action with the wheelie contest. Rod was able to put the black and green wrecking machine on the wheelie bar for the win.
Racing was up next and I was able to take out Ed and Fullboar in round 1 but in round 2 Dan Patrick and Samson out horse powered me across the finish line to make his way to the finals versus Rod and Grave Digger. Samson would not be denied, and ended up not only winning Friday nights racing, but he swept the entire weekend of racing at all 4 shows.
Friday night’s freestyle featured some high flying action inside the small confines of the area floor. Rod was able to take home the win in typical Grave Digger fashion while I ended up tied for 2nd with High Maintenance.
Saturday morning I was excited to get things started with the party in the pits not only to meet the great Monster Jam fans, but also because my Mother, Grandmother, and Sister were going to be there. I couldn’t wait to see them!! They actually took in the entire fan experience by coming through the long line to get my autograph and take photos! I was thrilled that I was going to get the opportunity to compete this close to my home town and the fact that the show was on the same day as my Grandmothers 83rd birthday was icing on the cake.
From Left to Right (Grandma) Ruth, Myself, (Sister) Leah, (Mom) Joy
Once show time rolled around My Dad, Uncles, Aunt, Sister and a bunch of my cousins made their way in to the arena. Ironically they were sitting in seats right near my pit spot so I was greeted by there cheers and signs each time passed by! We the action started with the wheelie contest. Dave Rappach and Rap Attack, ran away with the win as he stood the big Chevy straight up on the tail gate and stuck it in the second car. The truck stayed suspended there until the front end loader had to push him back down on all 4 wheels. The crowd loved it, and Dave was declared the winner hands down.
When freestyle time came around I was excited to put the bull through the ringer in front of all of my friends and family. I went out 2nd to last and was the first to tackle the big fmx landing ramp to end my run. I scored a 24 which landed me 2nd behind my high flying team mate.
After the show everyone came through the post show autograph session so we could get a family photo with everyone! This was definitely an amazing opportunity to show my family what my new dream job is all about. We got the opportunity to have everyone check out the truck up close and personal which I was very grateful for! It’s not every day you get to expose your family to a little piece of what I have dreamed my entire life of doing, so I have to thank the Monster Jam staff for making it possible!
Dad and I after the Saturday 2pm show!
Mom and I during the pit party!
My family made their way back to Cleveland after we got all the photos and fellowship in that we could. Once everyone said their goodbyes I was ready to set out on getting the Monster Jam crew together in between shows to break out the Princess Cake and gift for Rods Birthday. Once everyone was gathered around on the show floor we presented him with the cake and a brand spanking new never used SHAKE WEIGHT!!!
Everyone in attendance got a great laugh, and Rod was a great sport about it. Once we all caught our breath from the hysteria of Rod trying to emulate the shake weight commercial, it was time to get ready for the Saturday evening show. Rod must have been pumped up from his work out as he sent Grave Digger skyward for the wheelie contest win! As I said earlier Dan Patrick in Samson was on rails all weekend in racing as he took the win over Grave Digger in the finals. Freestyle action was hot once again as I took 2nd place again to my teammate in Grave Digger. I tackled the FMX landing ramp again to end my run. After I got out and waved to the sold out Toledo crowd the truck did not want to move back into its pit spot. Once we got it pushed out of the way with the help of the dirt crew, my crew went to work on the right front planetary hub and discovered it had run its last race. The gears were broken which caused the hub to lock up. I can’t say enough for my Crew Travis, Scott, and Josh as they had it fixed before I was out of the post show autograph session.
Sunday marked the fourth and final show in Toledo, so I was determined to put the Crazy Bull in the winner’s Circle in at least one event. My Dad, Uncle and cousin came back from Cleveland for today’s show, as well as some of my long time Radio Controlled Monster Truck Racing friends and teammates.
From left to right: Eric Krush, Paul Ovares, Dan Wyatt, Me, Tim Powers, Corey Powers, Cassie Powers
Once show time rolled around Ed Eckert and Full Boar came out first in the wheelie contest and no one else would be able to match the vertical sky wheelie he laid down. I managed to pull within 1 point of him for 2nd place.
In Racing Dan Patrick finished out a perfect 12 for 12 rounds of racing for the weekend with a win over Grave Digger in the UTI Racing Finals. This was said to be Dan’s last Monster Jam Race competing in Samson. His Daughter Allison is slated to take over the driving duties this summer. All the drivers signed a finish line banner and gave it to Dan after his last racing win interview. It was a special time to be competing with a man that you look up to as a kid at his final racing event.
In freestyle I set out to just go out there and have some fun. I was able to put down a run with good air and momentum with a nice Bagel AKA doughnut to close it out for my very first freestyle win of my career! I was pretty thrilled to be able to take home the win in front of my family and friends at the last show of the weekend!
I have to thank my family and friends for coming out to make this event extra special as well as my good friend Eric Krush who was a huge help with making sure my family had everything they needed while they were there. Eric also provided all the great photos for this weekend’s blog.
Myself and Eric
I’m looking forward to next weekend in Montgomery Alabama where my Fiancé, future in laws and step daughter will be in attendance as well as my Aunt and cousins and friends from Atlanta!!
Until then Take Care