BRADFORD - April showers not only brought back the May flowers, but also the mud, much to the delight of the folks in Bradford. May 3rd and 4th marked the 9th year that Vermonster took over Bradford.
What started as a little mud race has evolved into "The largest event in the Northeast" says Vermonster Owner Randy Oakley. Randy, along with his staff of volunteers, have spent countless hours to not only organize the event, but organize the fairgrounds.
"From our gates to our parking to this track, we take everything serious - everything safe, and we try to have a great day for everyone," Said Oakley.
Oakley attributes most of his help from the local community, whether it be businesses or his friends "coming down and pounding these poles in and setting up fences and boundaries, setting up chairs, theres a lot that goes into this event."
The event has several competitions, ranging from rock crawling, to mud races, to the mud trench, and even monster trucks. Jason Haber, driver of The Dirty Disease, who captured his record 18th class win in the mud races, said for him it started "as a hobby, now it's a lifestyle".
Haber says it all started when he was a kid, coming to these events with his parents. In fact, the chassis of his current record winning mud racer is actually from his own mother's daily driver. Using the vehicle from his mom and experience from his dad, Haber sealed up his 18th class win.
The blood, sweat and tears that go into prepping for this event for the drivers is only matched by the money involved. Jeremy Longto, driver of his truck Mechanical Bull, explains that what started out as him and his buddies tearing up fields in their free time has "gotten bigger and bigger and more expensive and more expensive."
Longto's truck is made for the mud trench, one muddy lane that progressively gets deeper and deeper. These rigs, unlike the mud racers, are built to not just go fast, but go deep.
The legendary Bigfoot monster truck was also in attendance, a Vermonster first. The truck, driven by Dan Runte, is notorious for monster trucks. Runte himself is a star, winning 11 national championships, and holding the world record for longest monster truck jump.
The creator, Bob Chandler, is known as the inventor of the monster truck, and his truck Bigfoot 18 made its way to the Northeast. For the people involved in Vermonster, this was an extremely big deal.
"It kind of puts us on the map, you know, everybody knows Bigfoot, usually everybody knows him down south or out west, but you hear Bigfoot in Bradford Vermont, I mean its pretty cool" said Longto.
Bigfoot's appearance and the expansion of interest in Vermonster left creator Randy Oakley to think, whats next?
"I never expected it to be where it is now, and I hope keep going in the direction we're headed, you know, we'll need the Vermonster Dome at some point" says Oakley. No matter what happens in the future, the test of man and machine will always draw the crowd.