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Dragon, Monster Trucks Roar at Reed

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It's a far cry from basketball, but action and excitement is still roaring across Reed Arena's floor. The Extreme Monster Truck Nationals is in town with one show Friday night, and a second Saturday evening. But the course building began around 7 AM.

"We come in, I make measurements, and I figure out where I want to route the track and we just start bringing dirt in the building our track," according to Tony Coleman, the track supervisor with the truck tour.

"You have to like loud noises and know it's going to be a dusty environment," Coleman continued. "It's going to be a noisy environment. If you've got youngsters, bring your ear protection, definitely."

Obviously, the monster truck industry has been going well for many years, but another industry's difficulties has provided more workout opportunities for big rigs like Sergeant Smash across the country. The cancellation of the National Hockey League season has opened up dozens of dates at arenas in the US and Canada, and truck rallies are just one of the forms of entertainment filling those slots.

"I feel bad that the hockey guys lost their season, but hopefully we're going to bring some entertainment to the people that are sitting around saying, 'Man, I wish something would come to town, we don't have hockey,'" said Coleman.

A stop for the tour in the very near future for the crew is Buffalo, NY, where the Sabres' season is on ice.

And if there was a frozen pond, Draco could probably melt it. He's not a truck, but definitely a monster. In fact, he's touted as the largest fire-breathing dragon in the world, standing 40 feet tall, weighing 40,000 pounds. Draco tours on his own, but often times joins up with the monster trucks, as he is doing this weekend at Reed.

"He was born in Japan," according to his "handler," Robbie Dawson. "He spent about a year there, and the Japanese decided they were getting a little nervous with him around, so they shipped him over here to the United States. So far, he's been welcomed with open arms. The kids love him. Every now and then, he gets a little anxious, but kids love him most times."

In actuality, Draco has never eaten a person, but consumes cars for the pleasure of thousands. He's actually quite friendly with people, even giving a "lucky" few rides as they dangle from his jaws.

Tickets are still available for Saturday's 8 PM show at Reed Arena.