For several years, Steve Pereira was determined to convince a monster truck tour to come to Terrace and finally succeeded in 2018. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Skeena Voices | Fueling the beasts

Steve Pereira brought back monster trucks to Terrace after 20 years

For Steve Pereira, he really wanted his monster truck obsessed son to see them in person.

And with that in mind, he was determined to bring them back to Terrace after a 20-year hiatus.

“I wanted [my son] to see something cool, all his friends are all into monster trucks…everybody’s faces just light up [when they] see a monster truck,” says Pereira. “And it’s not just kids, it’s adults who insist to bring something unique to the north.”

Having organized the freestyle motocross for several years with a career in the media industry, he says he had made enough contacts throughout his career to try to convince a monster-truck tour to come to the Northwest. It was time for everybody to experience something big here, he says.

It took many attempts throughout the years, feeling defeated at times as the tour repeatedly deemed itself impossible.

But come 2018, the monster trucks finally roared through town.

“It’s a rush. There’s an adrenaline factor. Like when you see something that you planned and have it actually happening, you see thousands of people there and your hair [on your arms] is up,” Pereira says. “It’s kind of surreal.”

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For him, this was a big accomplishment as he had been juggling his work and family while trying to organize everything to make the event a success. He had started with a blank slate and had to build everything up from there.

For many years before, despite gathering enough local support, organizers would shut him down whenever he explained his vision and they realized how far up north Terrace was. Some never returned his calls.

“We’re lacking in the content department up here… I’m not sure if it’s because people are hesitant to tackle these projects,” says Pereira. “That’s the problem that we have here, with everything. We’re off the grid, it’s too far.

“People look where we’re at and that they just don’t want to travel here because of costs. And I think they think that we’re a really small community and they’re not going to get the bang for their buck.”

In 2016, he heard there was a monster truck tour show happening in Prince George and drove all the way out to meet the organizer. Meeting them in person, Pereira listed off every reason why Terrace deserved to see a show. A $50,000 deal was made.

This was a big financial risk for Pereira because he had to find a way to pay back for that in ticket sales and sponsors. He also knew this was his one and only chance to make an impression, so he was driven to exceed all expectations.

“It was a huge risk. My wife was like, ‘You’re putting our money on the line here’. But I knew for a fact [I wanted to do this], just because it’s been 20 years and that there’s still nothing here. [It was] for the kids, like my kids, for other children,” he says.

As soon as he returned, he started approaching local Terrace businesses and organizations to see what could be arranged to make the show happen. The monster truck tour company had given him a checklist of items they needed to be fulfilled, along with another “wish list” that would give them the platform to really put on a show.

From cars to crush, dirt to roll on, fire crews to hose down flames and of course, the typical legal requirements such as insurance and permits, were all necessary.

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But none of that could happen without a location first.

Unlike the bigger cities with suitable facilities, Terrace didn’t have a stadium to host these trucks. Pereira researched the ideal dimensions for a show like that and wanted to go bigger, so he began scouting for an outdoor space that could handle the rumbles.

On a whim, he contacted the Northwest Regional Airport and was surprised with their enthusiasm to host the event.

“I should probably say none of this would happen if the airport didn’t work. Carman Hendry, the general manager there, was community minded and he jumped on board,” says Pereira. “We needed a secure, constant location, to be able to sell tickets and have that many people come and park. We mapped it all out, how to plan for parking, had a plan for where the show is going to be and a gate.”

Together with the airport and other Terrace organizations, they came up with everything. Food trucks, security and even seating. They had borrowed bleachers from every place imaginable in town to ensure that as many people could watch the show. Pereira also wanted to make the event affordable by cutting the typical cost of a ticket in half so that every family could attend.

As the excitement grew, so did the number of cars. People donated their old, broken vehicles for the trucks to destroy them. Two buses were also offered.

And just like that, the Malicious Monster Truck Tour had their entire wishlist fulfilled.

“The organizer was like, ‘Man, we’re gonna have so much fun on this course,’ because they had the ground for the jumps, they have the cars and they have the buses. They were like little kids, building this course on paper so they just went to town and they built it all, it was really exciting,” Pereira says. “They put a good show on, they were hitting the jumps — doing massive, massive jumps with some big air — it was probably one of the better shows they did that year.”

A line-up of traffic, bumper to bumper, stood on Highway 37 for kilometres the day of their first show. They were left with standing room only, so extra spectators brought their own lawn chairs. The organizer was stunned. Terrace had the highest sales in merchandise of the tour and given how much freedom the trucks had to pull off their best tricks at this pop-up venue — they wanted to return.

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With less than two months to go, Pereira is counting down the days until the trucks are back in town come July. His son and all his friends are eagerly awaiting it as well, excited to see more cars get crushed by these massive, beastly four-wheeled personalities.

But Pereira isn’t done and now he’s reaching for the sky as his aim is to bring the air show to Terrace in 2020. Ideally, he’d like to have the monster truck show and air show rotate every other year onwards.

“I actually hope there are more people out there that will see the economy [improve here], come out, step up to the plate, and bring some stuff to Terrace,” he says. ” Let’s make this the place that people are talking about.”

This year’s Malicious Monster Truck Tour will be in Terrace from July 13 to 14. Tickets can be purchased at Prevost RV and Marine, Misty River Books and MacCarthy GM.


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

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