At a time when many are creatively trimming their overhead, the Black Stallion racing team, and their event production business, are looking for ways to deal with the joy of growing pains. Over the past year they have added another truck to their stable and an additional driver to their team.
Vaters' Monster Motorsports was awarded the "Promoter of the Year 2010" by the Monster Truck Racing Association (MTRA).
They now have three monster trucks and two very cool jet powered 4-wheelers. And, the icing on the cake for team, owner Michael Vaters and his production company Vaters' Monster Motorsports was awarded the "Promoter of the Year 2010" by the Monster Truck Racing Association (MTRA).
Vaters' two new flame spewing jet 4-wheelers fit in perfectly alongside his monster trucks, they're about speed, noise and destruction says Vaters.
The number of events produced by Vaters' Monster Motorsports has been growing each summer, and this year they had a record breaking number of shows.
The Black Stallion racing team added a third truck this year, until a more permanent name is announced next year, it too will be known as Black Stallion.
"This is great news for all involved, but it is taking us a while to catch up and adjust to the growth," admitted Vaters for his home in Hagerstown, Maryland. "The first quarter for next year is already booked up with the Monster Jam series and we will be working on maintenance and updates to our equipment throughout the rest of the year."
What do Michael and Denise, his wife and team co-owner, attribute their burgeoning success to?
"I would have to say product sponsors and hard work. We have many product sponsors who help us with parts, services, and things we need to make everything work. A&C Racing Engines here in Hagerstown does all of our motor work. K&N helps us out tremendously with filters for all of our equipment. They even sponsored our driving suits this year, which we are very grateful for. If you add up all of our product and service sponsors it equals a large portion of our annual budget."
"If it weren't for our product sponsors we wouldn't be making it out here, especially with the economy the way it is now. The other key is our 'in-house work.' The Black Stallion team performs about 90 percent of our work in our shop. We build and repair just about everything; fiberglass body parts, chassis, rear-end housings, and transmission rebuilds. We fabricate parts and components for the trucks that most truck owners just buy."
The team's new jet powered 4-wheelers are 1990 Suzuki Quadzilla's, stretched out and modified to house a T58 General Electric jet helicopter engines. The engines are converted from jet turbine drive to full thrust power with an afterburner installed. Both jet 4-wheelers were built by Tim Arfons, the son of the legendary Art Arfons, who held the land speed record for many decades.
"We use the jet 4-wheelers as a side act at the monster truck shows," says Vaters. "It goes fast, shoots out flames, makes a lot of noise, and can turn a salvage car into a flaming inferno. They go right along with monster trucks….speed, noise and destruction."
With so many shows this year, are there any highlights that stand out?
"The poor economy has hit most sports ticket sales hard, which is not the case with the monster truck events, and it's probably because the tickets are more affordable. This past year the Black Stallion competed in 77 events, which is a record number for our team. All of the events were great, but if I had to choose one it would be the Monster Jam in Orlando, Florida, at the Citrus Bowl. It was filmed by the Speed Channel and over 70,000 fans were in the stands. I got third in my favorite competition…freestyle. I met a lot of great fans tailgating in the parking lot before the show and tasted a lot of good food too."
"A couple of exciting things are going on starting out in 2011," adds Vaters. "The Black Stallion team is introducing our third truck into competition this year. We will have two Black Stallion's, the second one being driven by James Tracey, and he will be competing at different venues this year. Monster Jam has booked us at more stadiums next year and they are normally filmed by the Speed Channel. We are working on a more permanent identity for the third truck and we will be announcing that later on in the year. We are all looking forward to another great year of competition that promises to be bigger and better than ever."
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