Friday, July 11, 2014

Monster trucks will mash it up at arena

March 07. 2013 6:00PM

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For his sons’ “best birthday party ever,” Steve Sims blindfolded Steve Jr., who was turning 11, and Trevor, who was turning 6, and drove them to a site where the monster truck known as Grave Digger was set up waiting for them.

The boys, both April babies, were thrilled.

So was Sims, who soon purchased a monster truck of his own.

You can see him driving Stone Crusher this weekend, when many teams will bring their powerful vehicles to Monster Jam at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township

Sims, who hails from Virginia Beach, Va., might not have picked up this avocation if Grave Digger’s owner, Dennis Anderson, hadn’t wanted some countertops back in 2005. Sims, who owns the family business Custom Stone Co., swapped some in return for Grave Digger’s better-than-cake-and-ice-cream appearance at the party.

When Anderson told Sims about another truck that was for sale, he became a proud owner. And on the day his driver, Gary Wiggins, “took a bad hit and got a concussion,” Sims stepped in and started driving.

“I loved it! I didn’t want to get out,” he said.

Driving a monster truck with wheels that are 66 inches high over other vehicles and mounds of dirt is a thrilling experience that requires skill, Sims said in a telephone interview.

“You have to think, and you have to react on instinct,” he said, “and you have to know where all four corners of the truck are at all times.”

“So far, knock on wood, nothing has happened. No injuries,” he said. “I wear my safety gear.”

Sims feels so comfortable with monster trucks that he’s welcomed his older son, now 18, to the sport.

No doubt his younger son won’t be far behind.

“It’s family fun for us,” Sims said.

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