School: A term that is used frequently today to relate to something that is
classic, vintage or the way something used to be. Monster Truck fans will refer to
"old school" when talking about the way the sport used to be or the way a truck
looks in reference to its past. Old School fans that have followed monster trucks from its
inception are always fond of the past and yurn for the past to be revived in some form
today. Wish no more! Bearfoot, One of the most legendary names in monster trucks, has been
reincarnated with its classic Chevy body style, bright blue paint and the ever present
black bear. Bearfoot Old School is alive!
Over the weekend of September 12-14, B.J. Johnson debuted his creation of the design Fred Shafer made famous with a 4 day non-stop whirlwind of car crushing action throughout the Chicagoland area. On the 13th, I got the chance to take an upclose and personal look at the body style.
I had been in contact with B.J. over the course of the week leading up to the debut and was extremely excited about the news. After getting all the details sorted out, I planned my route and went on a journey to the south side of Chicago to find the truck on display. Had to watch the clock as I needed to turn around and go over 100 miles back north for Rockford Speedway's Eve of Destruction4 later at night! I rolled into A-Reliable Autoparts in Blue Island Illinois just after 1:00. A-Reliable Auto Parts is the primary sponser over at Route66 Raceway for their Team Demolition Derby and signed on to be the #1 sponser on Bearfoot Old School as well thats why the display was at their place and the reason for all their decals. I had just missed B.J. crushing thanks to a train blocking my path, but it didn't matter, I was in awe even before I had parked.
I grabbed my camera gear as quick as I could and ran up to find B.J. who was surrounded by kids, signing autographs and answering questions about the truck. I went up behind him and wacked him on the head! :-) He turned around and said "hey! so, you like it?" I said "I LOVE IT!" Ok, I'll level with you...I always hated Chevy because Bearfoot was a Chevy (and USA-1) and Bigfoot, my favorite, was a Ford. I also never wanted Bearfoot to win back in those days but I've come around and have been pretty equal on my liking of trucks now. To see the old style come back to life was just an incredible feeling.
As I mentioned, I had missed the 1:00 car crushing and B.J. said the next one was at 3:00 so I had some major time to kill. If only every instance where I had time to kill was this fun! After just chilling with B.J. and Dawne, we jacked a Gator golf cart and went crusin' around the HUGE property of A-Reliable. We roamed the thousands of torn up cars that were organized and stacked to the sky on huge racks and blasted into their new warehouse and checked out some of damaged luxury cars as well. We tore up the grounds for nearly an hour just checking everything out then headed back to the hauler. We laughed it up for awhile more and A-Reliable was more than kind enough to throw about $50 worth of McDonalds food our way so we pigged out.
I had walked up to Bearfoot to just look stuff over again when Dawne told me to get my butt up in the seat so she could take a picture. Hesitation? I think not! I hopped up there as quick as I could, totally ruining my white khaki pants but that was my fault for wearing them in the first place! :-) I leaned out the driver side window and Dawne snapped off a few shots of me. She wanted one with the helmet on but B.J.'s head is just too freakin' small!
I kindly returned the picture taking favor and snapped a shot of B.J. and Dawne in front of Bearfoot:
Finally, the hours had ticked away and it was time for B.J. to take the reigns Bearfoot and get down to some car crushin'! A big crowd of people lined the parking strip area and nearly had to spill into the road. Employees of A-Reliable also dropped everything to catch a glipse of the action. There were two sets of three cars for Bearfoot to attack and I took a spot right in the middle of them as close as I could go. I knew B.J. wouldn't dare take ME out.....right?
B.J. didn't take it easy on any of his over a dozen jumps and went to all lengths to get the crowd behind him. His first and last jumps were by far the biggest as he got all four tires well off the ground and cleared the three cars easily nearly landing at the next set each time. I shall let the pictures talk for themselves...sit back, scroll down and enjoy nostalgia at its finest with Bearfoot Old School!
After his final jump, B.J. saluted the crowd who gave him a good ovation for his fine skill and work with Bearfoot Old School. I packed up my camera stuff as quickly as I could and said bye to B.J. and Dawne right after as I had to hit the road back home to then hit the road again for Rockford Speedway.
A HUGE thanks goes out to B.J. Johnson for his hard work spent getting this truck ready to perform and to taking enough time out of his schedule to get me the info to come see the truck, all appreciated more than he knows. Unfortunately, only about a week after the truck made its debut, B.J. was released from Paul Shafer Motorsports. The truck finished out the 2003 season as Bearfoot Old School and was driven by Brian Townsend. As far as Bearfoot Old School sticking around for 2004, that is unknown at this time. I and all of B.J.'s fans wish him the best in all his future happenings.
Thank you for stopping by MidwestMonsters and taking a journey back to the Old School days of monster trucks, Jason Twite.