Rural Missouri - September 2012 - (Page 32)

N E I G H B O R S by Katie Alaimo B eneath a small canopy that sheltered him from the blistering heat, Monty Perrigo sat with his family while waiting for the evening’s first visitors to the Boone County Fair. Silently towering just behind them was the “American 88 Monster,” a 9-foot-tall truck of Monty’s own design. “There’s no plans, there’s no diagrams, it’s just, ‘OK, this is what I’m going to do,’” says Monty, “That’s the way I do it.” Designing projects in his head rather than on paper is a skill that has come naturally to this welder during the past 25 years. Owner of Monty and Sons Welding, the Ashland resident and Boone Electric Cooperative member designs custom-built pieces based on the needs of his clients. Only in recent years has Monty devoted this talent to the construction of monster trucks. Monty’s ambitious hobby began three years ago, but his interest in monster trucks was sparked long before his first efforts to build one. In fact, all members of the Perrigo family are avid fans of the sport. Their faces light up as they quickly rattle off favorite trucks and drivers. “Gravedigger,” says Monty, as Jill, his wife, and daughter, Lydia, interject with “Bigfoot” and “Maximum Destruction.” The family attends truck shows whenever they can, moving now from the role of spectator to participant. It’s an easy transition for Monty and Jill who both grew up around cars. Jill’s father was a mechanic for MoDOT, and Monty gained expeMonty Perrigo stands with his custom-built monster trucks, the “American 88 Monster,” left, and the “BRRT” Bus. rience by helping family and friends with their One truck at a time, Monty and Jill hope their than most monster trucks, making it ideal for givcars. This practice paid off later when he applied participation in fairs, parades and mud runs will ing rides during events and intermissions. Instead it to his own trucks. help them gain a stronger foothold in the monster of wreaking havoc upon cars a fraction of its size, The hobby may have been born out of Monty’s truck world. Since they started, they have traveled the American 88 Monster is the designated “friendneed to fill time, but the inspiration for his first with their trucks as far as Sedalia, taking part in the ly giant” of events, carrying awe-struck kids and project came from the Perrigo’s son, Chad, a spe2011 Missouri State Fair as the official ride truck of parents around the arena. cialist with the Army National Guard. the monster truck show. The 88 Monster’s benign disposition during a “God just kind of gave him a vision to do the This October, they’re planning a trip to Georgia, show doesn’t prevent Monty from trying out a few Army truck for veterans and our soldiers coming where they’ve been asked to bring the American 88 donuts in the mud pits on his own, however. back and forth,” says Jill, who was skeptical at Monster to a three-day show. “We play pretty rough with them, and if that the project’s outset. To her surprise, it wasn’t long While traveling to different venues gives Monty ain’t the true tester then nothing is,” says Monty, before Monty found the truck he would use and a greater opportunity to market his “grown-up laughing. gathered the necessary parts toys,” the hobby can be costly in time and money, But for Monty, the real satisfaction comes The family known for owning another reason he’s not willing to smash cars. from seeing the kids’ reactions and hearing large vehicles could now lay claim “They’re big enough to jump but you’ll tear so the veterans’ appreciation. “[The veterans] tell to the biggest rig in town. Atop the much out of them,” he explains. “And I don’t have their girlfriends ‘I rode here, this is where I same 66-inch tires commonly used that kind of money — like the boys do on TV — to sat in these trucks,” says Jill. on combines and sprayers, Monty • tear them up every day.” To honor troops across America, the set a 1967 M35 2-1/2-ton cargo truck Ashland Aside from the expense of finding and purPerrigos also work with such charities — better known as a “deuce and a half” chasing parts, many of the permits and licenses as the Honor Flight Network, donat— that he bought from a surplus store required to own a monster truck were costs Monty ing their time and unique services to in Kansas City. A symbol of American and Jill hadn’t anticipated three years ago. help organizations raise money. patriotism, each of the wheels on the “It’s been a challenge, and it still is, because “If somebody needs something, we American 88 is coated in either red, white they’re coming up with new regulations on them try to help out as much as we can,” says Monty. or blue paint. all the time,” says Monty. The family also takes part in D.A.R.E. America Yet, while extensive work was done to the Despite such hurdles, the family has been gainevents, but not with the American 88. truck’s suspension and steering to accommodate ing more recognition for its efforts. In July, the PerThis past year, Monty unveiled his second comthe six massive tires, Monty is proud to have left rigos were booked every weekend. pleted monster truck at the Tons o’ Trucks event much of the original body and engine intact. Monty shows no signs of slowing down either. in Columbia — a 12-foot-tall yellow and orange Unlike trucks used in arenas for racing and He already has his sights set on the next project — school bus, equipped with a 7.3-liter diesel under crushing that are entirely rebuilt in frame and a vintage fire engine to honor firefighters. the hood. body, alterations to the American 88 Monster were Like its predecessor, the interior was untouched limited to turning up the fuel injection pump for For more information on booking Monty Perrigo’s and can still hold the 25 students it was meant to added power and blowing black smoke for entermonster trucks for your event or about Monty & Sons transport. They named it the “BRRT” Bus. tainment. Welding, send an email to “We have four grandsons — Brock, Ryot, Raiden Equipped with dually wheels in the rear, the or call 573-289-7565. and Tison,” says Jill. “So BRRT is their initials.” 15,500 pound Vietnam-era troop carrier is heavier Monty Perrigo brings his love of monster trucks to life 32 RURAL MISSOURI

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2012

Rural Missouri - September 2012
Table of Contents
Where the wild things are
Hit the trail
Plowing forward with a new tradition
Out of the Way Eats
Devastating drought
Hearth and Home
Closing the gateway
Around Missouri
A man & his monsters

Rural Missouri - September 2012