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Bigfoot
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Bigfoot #19 circa 2019

Owner

Bob Chandler

Drivers

Mike Miller, Darron Schnell, Rodney Tweedy, Buddy Tompkins, AJ Straatman, Christian Norman, Dan Runte (fill in) and Josh Gibson (fill in)

Body Style

Ford Trophy Truck

Engine

565ci Ford / 540ci Chevy

Transmission

2-Speed Abruzzi

Tires

Firestone

Year Created

1975

Theme Song

Various Themes: "We Will Rock You" by Queen, "Last Man Standing" by Pop Evil, "American Badass" by Kid Rock, "Just Go" by Staind (Star Bigfoot), "The Game" by Disturbed (Xbox Bigfoot), "Eight Second Ride" by Jake Owen (Odyssey Bigfoot), "SuperStar" by Saliva (MLB Bigfoot), "I Don't Wanna Stop" by Ozzy Osbourne, and many more

Bigfoot is a monster truck owned by Bob Chandler out of St. Louis, Missouri. It is considered to be the first "monster truck", though some were built before its time.

The truck is arguably one of the most popular of its kind together with Grave Digger and Maximum Destruction (Max-D). However, unlike theses two trucks, Bigfoot hasn't competed in Monster Jam since 1998, due to Bob Chandler's fear of selling out to larger leagues.

There are currently 5 competing Bigfoot trucks with 6 full time drivers and 2 fill-ins. 20 trucks have been made by the team since its debut in 1975.

Bigfoot trucks are also known for running multiple colorful and creative paint schemes on their trucks throughout its career. These bodies are accompanied by the teams many sponsorships from different platforms.

The truck has also accomplished many success through the years. Some of these include Guinness World Records and championships from multiple leagues.

History

In 1975, Bob Chandler opened the Midwest Four-Wheel Drive Center shop after being frustrated with getting parts and service for his year-old Ford 4x4 pickup truck. He used the truck as both a service vehicle and advertisement for the shop, racing it often on weekends, and upgrading it many times to be competitive.

In 1979, he fully rebuilt the pickup to have four-wheel steering and 48-inch tires using axels from a military truck, with updated body panels from a 1979 Ford. Dubbed "Bigfoot", Chandler began doing paid events and quickly became a common sight at truck and tractor pulls.

In 1981, Bigfoot received much attention from a car crush at the Pontiac Silverdome. This kickstarted Bigfoot's fame among other monster trucks.

In 1982, Bigfoot 2 was created by demand after multiple bookings were happening due to the truck's rising popularity. This truck was also the first Bigfoot to incorporate the today standard 66" Terra tires. Jim Kramer and Ken Koelling start driving for the team.

In 1984, Bigfoot 3 was introduced. It performed more car crushes for the team. Ron Bachmann also made his Bigfoot debut.

In 1985, Bigfoot 4 debuted. It was one of the most successful Bigfoot trucks from its time. It won multiple events and dominated the emerging monster truck racing scene through much of the late 80s. Andy Brass also joined the team.

In 1986, the team debuted Bigfoot 5, an exhibition truck which featured 10 foot tall tires. The truck was unlike any other monster truck from its period due to its height and heavy weight. It is also Team Bigfoot's first ride truck to be used.

In 1987, the team set another world record for the longest jump inside a monster truck. Jim Kramer drove the newly finished Bigfoot 6 onto the team's second world record. Gene Patterson also joined the team.

In 1988, Bigfoot 7 was introduced. It was built for a film shoot and was eventually used for competition.

In 1989, another first was recorded yet again by the team. Bigfoot 8 debuted and was the first monster truck to run a custom steel-tube-frame chassis rather than a reinforced standard truck chassis. Dan Runte would also start driving for the team.

In 1990, Bigfoot 2 and 3 stopped competing and were turned into ride trucks. Bigfoot 9 debuted as a near clone of #8 as it featured almost the same design.

In 1991, Bigfoot created the first 3D-bodied monster truck Snake Bite. The truck ran on various Bigfoot chassis and served as the teammate to the team.

In 1992, the newly completed Bigfoot 10 won the second Special Events/Penda Points Series under Andy Brass. The team also expanded as Lonny Childress, Eric Tack and Brian Conn all started to drive for team Bigfoot. Bigfoot 11 made its debut at the SEMA trade show in November.

In 1993, Sky Hartley and Eric Meagher were hired by the team. Three brand new trucks were introduced as well. Andy Brass driving Bigfoot 11 won the PENDA Points Series under the name Wildfoot; the name was used as the series allowed only one truck to use the same name, and the team also had Bigfoot 10 competing. Bigfoot 12, a dedicated display truck, and Bigfoot 14 also debuted that year.

In 1994, Brass, Patterson and Conn finished their final seasons with Bigfoot. Bigfoot 6 was also retired. Bigfoot 15 however made its competition debut. Brass would win his third PENDA Points Series Championship with Bigfoot 11.

In 1995, John Piant started driving Bigfoot. Dan Runte also won his first PENDA Points Championship with Bigfoot 14. Meanwhile, Bigfoot 7 was rebuilt into a display truck featuring 10 foot tall tires similar to #5.

In 1996, Runte won another PENDA Championship with Bigfoot 14.

In 1997, the team would win yet another PENDA Points Series this time with Eric Meagher driving Bigfoot 15. Gene Patterson also returned to driving Bigfoot.

In 1998, Eric and #15 won the USA Motorsports Monster Truck Challenge. Meanwhile, while on tour in Brazil, Bigfoot 9 was seized by customs. It was never returned to the team.

In 1999, the team set multiple world records. Dan Runte set not only 1 but 3 firsts in the Guinness Book of World Records. He recorded the longest monster truck jump and fastest monster truck land speed after jumping over a Boeing 727 airplane in Smyrna, TN. He also set the world record for the highest monster truck jump in Las Vegas. On top of that, he (driving Bigfoot 14) and Rick Petroline won the No Limits Monster Truck Championship Winter Series and the Grand Nationals, respectively. Bigfoot 11 also set a record for the longest wheelie in a monster truck. Lonny Childress left the team.

In 2000, Eric Tack won the ProMT series with Bigfoot 15. Teammates Gene Patterson and Sky Hartley left the team. Bigfoot 3 was also retired and was eventually sold.

In 2001, Dan Runte and Bigfoot 14 won the same series Tack won the year before. John Piant left the team, while Dave Harkey joinEd.

In 2002, Bigfoot 5 was inducted into the Guinness Book Of World Records as the tallest and widest pickup truck, a record which remains to this date. Dan Runte won the NLMTC Grand Nationals once again in #14. Eric Tack won Monster Truck Nationals Championship in #15. Ken Koelling retired from racing.

In 2003, Larry Swim and Keith Sturgeon started driving Bigfoot. Nigel Morris also joined the team as he debuted his own truck, Bigfoot 17, the first official Bigfoot truck to exclusively tour in Europe. This truck also got him the same year's European ProMT Championship. Back in the US, Runte won another NLMTC, this time taking home the Winter Series Championship. Bigfoot 8 was retired from competition and became a display truck. Eric Tack officially left the team.

In 2005, AJ Straatmann drove Bigfoot for a couple months.

In 2006, Keith Sturgeon stoped driving for Bigfoot. Morris won the EMRTC with #17.

In 2007, multiple achievements were received by the team. Straatman joined the team full time. They unveiled Bigfoot 16 which won the MLMT Series under Runte. He would also take #15 to another NLMTC Winter Series win. Morris would again win the EMRTC in Europe with #17 and Rick Long in #15 won the the Monster Madness tour in Canada. Dave Harkey retired from racing. Bigfoot #4 was sold.

In 2008, Darron Schnell was hired by the team. Later that year, former driver Dave Harkey tragically died at the age of 49.

In 2009, Staatman left the team. Larry Swim won both the Racing and Freestyle championships of the Checkered Flag Productions Series with Bigfoot 14. In Europe, Morris won another EMRTC with #17.

In 2010, Amber Walker began driving for the team using the Ms. Bigfoot body design. Swim won another Checkered Flag Productions Championship with #14. Rick Long won the racing championship of the Monster Truck Nationals with #15.

In 2011, Walker left the team. Long repeated as MTN racing champion again driving #15. Runte won another championship for the team this time, the 4 Wheel Jamboree Nationals Racing Championship.

In 2012, Bigfoot 18 debuted. Runte later won the Toughest Monster Truck Tour with #18. Later that year he piloted it to reclaim the monster truck long-jump record. Long also took home his third Monster Truck Nationals Racing Championship with #15 as well as Larry Swim winning the Winter Series of the Checkered Flag Productions with Bigfoot 16. However, #16 was later retired after a hard crash damaged major components of the truck. Bigfoot 19 was quickly inaugurated as a replacement.

In 2013, the world's first electric powered monster truck Bigfoot 20 was introduced. Meanwhile, Runte won another TMTT Championship with Bigfoot 18. The Australian Bigfoot debuts later in the year driven by Rick Long.

In 2014, AJ Straatman rejoined the team once again. Runte won another TMTT with #18 while Swim won the Monster X Tour with #19.

In 2015, Bigfoot 10 and 11 were both retired due to extensive frame damage. Bigfoot 21 was then welcomed to the fleet. It won Runte's fourth consecutive TMTT Championship while Swim won both Monster X and the 4 Wheel Jamboree Racing Championship with #18.

In 2016, Dan Runte announced his final season as a full-time Bigfoot driver. Bigfoot 21 also won 2 different titles with 2 different drivers. Runte won another TMTT while Swim won another 4 Wheel Jamboree Racing Championship. Darron Schnell and Josh Gibson each won championships with their respective trucks #19 and #18. Schnell won the Monster Truck Nationals Racing Championship while Gibson won the 4 Wheel Jamboree Freestyle Championship.

In 2017, Josh Gibson and Bigfoot 18 won 3 different championships. He won the Racing and Freestyle Championships of the 4 Wheel Jamboree as well as the TMTT as Snake Bite driver Vinny Venom. Darron Schell also won the Monster Truck Nationals racing championship with Bigfoot 19.

In 2018, Gibson retired from racing. Christian Norman and Mike Miller were hired by the team. Swim won another TMTT Championship with Bigfoot 21. Norman also won the 4 Wheel Jamboree Racing championship. However, teammate Ron Bachmann died later that year. In November the team announces a new licensing deal with Hot Wheels that includes joining the new Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live tour.

In 2019, Bigfoot 18, as Hot Wheels Racing 1 with Norman driving, alongside other Bigfoot trucks begin on the Hot Wheels tour. Swim won another TMTT Championship with Bigfoot 21. Swim retired in June. Soon after Buddy Tompkins is hired as a new driver for the team, but only for select shows.

In 2020, Bigfoot 21 will be driven by Dave Radzierez at the TMTT. Tweedy is driving #14 with Norman continuing to drive #18 as Hot Wheels Racing 1, at North American dates of the Hot Wheels tour while Darron Schnell is driving #19 at European dates, joined by his wife Rebecca Schnell driving #15 as Hot Wheels Racing 1.

Sponsorships

Bigfoot's first sponsorship was Ford, which ran on the truck from 1986 to 2007. Since then, multiple companies have sponsored Bigfoot 4x4 due to its fame and popularity in the industry. The following list is a record of all of Bigfoot's sponsorship bodies through the years.

WCW Sponsorship

In 1995, Team Bigfoot partnered with WCW to create monster trucks inspired by wrestling icons at the time. The sponsorhip lasted until 1998 until WCW moved to Monster Jam a year later.

Bigfoot trucks

There have been 20 Bigfoot trucks built over the years. Bigfoot 21 is the latest truck however, there is no Bigfoot 13 due to superstition making 21 actually the 20th truck.

Truck Vehicle Information
Bigfoot 1 Built in 1975; now a display truck
Bigfoot 2 Built in 1982; sold to an independent owner in 2000
Bigfoot 3 Built in 1983; sold to EMT financial fund in 2000
Bigfoot 4 Built in 1984; sold in 2007
Bigfoot 5 Built in 1986; display truck with ten-foot tall tires
Bigfoot 6 Built in 1986; sold in 1994
Bigfoot 7 Built in 1987; now a display truck at a Florida amusement park
Bigfoot 8 Built in 1988; became a display in 2003
Bigfoot 9 Built in 1990; lost in a customs dispute in Brazil in 1998
Bigfoot 10 Built in 1991; Retired in 2015 after extensive damage
Bigfoot 11 Built in 1992; Retired in 2015 after extensive damage
Bigfoot 12 Built in 1992, display truck that tours with Drue Epler
Bigfoot 14 Built in 1993; driven by Rodney Tweedy
Bigfoot 15 Built in 1993; driven by AJ Straatmann and Mike Miller
Bigfoot 16 Built in 2007; Retired in 2012 after extensive damage
Bigfoot 17 Built in 2003; driven by Nigel Morris
Bigfoot 18 Built in 2011; driven by Christian Norman, also runs as Hot Wheels Racing 1
Bigfoot 19 Built in 2012; driven by Darron Schnell
Bigfoot 20 Built in 2012; electric powered; display truck
Australian Bigfoot Rebuilt in 2013 after running as Outback Thunda #3; driven by Rick Long in Australia; converted into Speed Racer in 2014
Bigfoot 21 Built in 2014: Driven by Buddy Tompkins, originally built for Dan Runte and later driven by Larry Swim
Bigfoot Shuttle Built in 1985; van body; sold in 2002
Bigfoot Fastrax Built in 1988; treaded offroad vehicle; sold around 2015
Bigfoot Ranger Built in 1985; driven by Marilyn Chandler; sold in 1996

Trivia

  • There are over 40 different Bigfoot paint schemes that have been used on Bigfoot trucks since its debut.
  • After Bigfoot 12 was constructed, it was decided that the next Bigfoot truck to be built would be called Bigfoot 14, due to superstition about the number 13. However, Race Rock Vegas Bigfoot, a shell version of a rebuilt Bigfoot 7 at Race Rock Orlando, was known as Bigfoot 13.
  • In 1998, Bigfoot 9 took a tour of Brazil. When it was due to return to the United States, however, a customs incident in Brazil caused the truck to be confiscated. It is currently used by an independent company in Brazil, and legal obstacles have made it all but impossible for the truck to return to the United States.
  • Bigfoot got its name when Bob Chandler asked friend Ron Magruder why he was breaking so many parts on his truck. Magruder responded, "It's because of your big foot."
  • Dan Runte, driving Bigfoot 14, set a then world monster truck long jump record on September 11, 1999 in Smyrna, Tennessee, when he jumped the truck a total of 202 feet, clearing a 727 jetliner in the process. After Joe Sylvester in Bad Habit took the record in 2012 (then at 208 feet), Dan Runte once again reclaimed the record in Bigfoot 18 with a jump of 214 feet 8 inches in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 16, 2012.
  • In 2003, Nigel Morris partnered with Bob Chandler to build Bigfoot 17, the first Bigfoot to compete exclusively outside of the United States. Bigfoot 17 competes primarily in the United Kingdom.
  • Bigfoot has several alternative names and identities for their trucks when two of their trucks are scheduled at a show. Among these have been "Summit Bigfoot", "Power Wheels Bigfoot", "Tonka", "Xbox", "WildFoot" and "Snake Bite". Currently, a Vi-Cor Sponsored truck, known unofficially as "Bigfoot Bessie", competes with a cow-themed paint scheme.
  • Snake Bite (using Bigfoot 4's chassis) was originally driven by Gene Patterson, under the pseudonym of Colt Cobra. He wore a mask to hide his identity and came from the fictional town of Cobra Creek, Colorado. Eric Meagher became Colt Cobra in 1993 (now with Bigfoot 8's chassis) when Gene drove Bigfoot No. 10 to second place behind Andy Brass in Bigfoot #11. Dan Runte drove it as Ricky Rattler for a short time, but Ricky also came from Cobra Creek, Colorado. Since 1997, a regular Bigfoot driver under his own name has been driving Snake Bite. Recently there is a new pseudonym named Peter Python that debuted at the Midwest Four-Wheel Drive Open house for 2009. For that show it was portrayed by Larry Swim. The newist incarnation is Vinny Venom, who was introduced in 2016.
  • There was an animated cartoon featuring the Bigfoot Monster Truck, Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines in the 1980s. The truck has been frequently licensed for use in toys.
  • Bigfoot is referenced in two different episodes of Futurama.
  • A video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System of the same name was released in 1990 by Acclaim Entertainment.
  • Bigfoot was one of the main characters of the animated series, The Power Team. It (or "he" in the show) was added to advertise the NES game above.
  • A Discovery Kids TV series called Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks was released in 2006.
    • The same children's TV series features Bigfoot as a character. He has a son named Little Tow (LT for short).
  • A new "Ms. Bigfoot" debuted in April 2010, driven by Amber Walker.
  • A Bigfoot video game was created by Acclaim in 1990. To advertise it, Bigfoot was a character in Acclaim's TV show.
  • As of 2019, the Australian Bigfoot is the only truck to solely run as a Bigfoot after competing under a different name and team.

Gallery

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