From left, Scorpion, Grave Robber and Thugger are prepared for the Kicker Monster Truck Mania on Saturday at McGee Park Coliseum in Farmington.
From left, Scorpion, Grave Robber and Thugger are prepared for the Kicker Monster Truck Mania on Saturday at McGee Park Coliseum in Farmington. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Half a dozen trucks lined the walls of the McGee Park Coliseum on Saturday morning as front-loaders piled smashed cars in lines in preparation for the second day of "Kicker Monster Truck Mania."

"Kicker Monster Truck Mania" started Friday and continued Saturday evening with competitions that included "wheelie," "freestyle" and "race."

Each truck had its name painted in large letters on the side.

On the far side of the arena, a large green truck displayed the name "Grave Robber."

"Grave Robber" — a 2004 Chevy Corvette turned into a monster truck — won the racing competition Friday night and its driver, Chris Whatley, hoped to also win in wheelie and freestyle competition Saturday.

Grounds crew work on the obstacle course for the Kicker Monster Truck Mania Saturday at McGee Park Coliseum in Farmington.
Grounds crew work on the obstacle course for the Kicker Monster Truck Mania Saturday at McGee Park Coliseum in Farmington. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

Whatley started driving about 20 years ago.

"I grew up around monster trucks," he said.

Whatley said the first truck he drove was a Toyota called Casper that was owned by someone he worked for in Pearl, Miss., in the early 1980s.

He said he loves driving the towering monster trucks.

"It changes the perspective as soon as you get in it," he said.

While Whatley drives "Grave Robber" and helps work on the truck, it is owned by Georgia resident Rob French.

French also competed in the truck mania Friday and Saturday in a truck called "Scorpion."

He said he has been driving for about 25 years.

"I went to a show and liked it so I built me a truck," French said.

The first truck he built, "Incinerator," was made using a Chevy truck body and is still running on the circuit today.

Building a truck costs around $175,000 and takes about four months to complete, he said.

"Grave Robber," he said, has a 1,500-horsepower engine and 750-pound tires as well as $10,000 worth of pipes.

French said he originally built "Scorpion" — which evolved from a 2010 Ford Super Duty pickup truck — for his son. However, when his son went to college, he started to drive "Scorpion" rather than "Grave Robber."

And you won't see French wearing ear plugs, despite the loud engine noise.

"You've got to hear it," he said. "You've got to feel it so you know what the truck's doing."

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.