Payne making his way for Monster X Tour

By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Contributor

Professional monster truck driver Bill Payne heads to Fort McMurray for the Monster X Tour taking place on September 18 to 19 at SMS Equipment Stadium. SUPPLIED PHOTO.

Professional monster truck driver Bill Payne heads to Fort McMurray for the Monster X Tour taking place on September 18 to 19 at SMS Equipment Stadium. SUPPLIED PHOTO.

Rock star Bill Payne is coming to Fort McMurray from September 18 to 19, 2015 and will be performing at SMS Equipment Stadium at Shell Place.

Like any true rock star, the noise is loud. Payne suggested that you bring ear plugs or even if need be, “head into the washroom and grab a wad of paper to put in your ears.”

The crowd only motivates him to get louder.“It is probably one of those cheesy things, but the crowd does it to me every time,” said Payne by telephone, while traveling to a show in Rapid City, South Dakota.

“When the announcer gets the crowd pumped up introducing us – that gets you going… The noise of the crowd. The butterflies and nerves and then the adrenaline gets going.”

Unlike other rock stars though, Payne does not sing, or to our knowledge, play an instrument. He is a professional Monster Truck driver and will be in the city as part of the Monster X Tour, while driving a 2004 Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab with 66″ Ukraine tires a Turbo 400 built by Community Transmissions and shocks that are 26″ Nitrogen over hydraulic Combs.

His Monster Truck is known as Rock Star and his wife Lorna Payne will be performing in Rock Star II with other drivers, including British Columbia natives Marvin Anderson in Identity Theft and Pierce Knight behind the wheel of Canadian Tough Guy.

Also on the roster is California Kid with Tehvyn Goodwin, from Cool, California and Skeletor. Based out of Bremerton, Washington, Payne has been involved in the sport for 13 years, having combined his love of off-road driving and working with metal while building boats at the Navy shipyards.

“I’ve always been into destruction,” said Payne, 33. “I would tear things apart, smash my toy dump trucks in the sandbox as a kid and when I got older I got into four-wheeling. A guy thought I was crazy enough and he said, ‘Hey do you want to drive a Monster Truck?’”

“I’ve always been into destruction,” said Payne, 33. “I would tear things apart, smash my toy dump trucks in the sandbox as a kid and when I got older I got into four-wheeling. A guy thought I was crazy enough and he said, ‘Hey do you want to drive a Monster Truck?’”

Crazy. But still, Payne says that safety comes first in a sports entertainment Monster Truck show that may include “wheelies”, wheel stands, jumps, back flips, free styling, one-on-one races and the fan favourite of crushing smaller vehicles – usually from the local auto junk yard – beneath the Monster Truck tires on a specially designed course.
“It is all for the crowd,” said Payne, who estimates they are on the road for 42 weeks a year.

“When you go out there, you try to do something that no one else is going to do. People want us to push it to the limits.

“It is safe… Nothing is going to happen to us… They keep the driver safe. When we make a mistake; that is why we have roll cages, harnesses and helmets. If we roll over the Monster Truck, if there is no damage or immediate danger, we flip it over and keep going. You might get a headache once in a while or a few sore muscles.

“There is a lot of horsepower and they can jump 30 feet in the air and 90 feet out.”

With a large pit crew, Payne said, if needed, it takes “only 15 minutes to change an axel or 20 minutes to change a transmission.”

Having performed around the globe, “We have been to Russia, Poland, Turkey,” it’s not an inexpensive sport with $100,000 to $120,000 budgeted annually for each truck. Like I said, I get butterflies and nervous at the start and then the crowd starts to get louder and louder and the adrenaline gets going. It’s called race fever.”

Advance discount tickets are available online at www.monsterxtour.com or The Shell Place Box Office, or charge by phone at 1-888-281-6477. Adult tickets starting at $35 and kids tickets starting at $20.

Catch you on the rebound.

– Connect Weekly –