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Jousting, monster trucks included in fair arena lineup
Fair motorsport preview pic
Denair resident Jeff Souza and his son Hunter will once again compete in the Monster Truck competition at the Stanislaus County Fair. Jeff will drive his full-sized truck, while Hunter will drive his mini monster truck, known as the Wrecking Machine. - photo by Journal file photo

The Stanislaus County Fair is known for its rides, food and livestock, but those looking for adventurous entertainment can head out to the FoodMaxx Arena this year to see exciting events that feature destruction, larger-than-life trucks and even jousting.

New to the Stanislaus County Fair this year is the Evolution of Extreme Sports show, which is just one of many events put on by WGAS Motorsports. The show is truly an example of how extreme sports have evolved over the years, said WGAS founder John Borba, beginning with one of the world’s first daredevil events: a jousting match.

“This is just like the good ol’ knights of the round table jousting,” said Borba.

The show begins with two knights, each mounted on horses, riding toward each other at high speeds in an attempt to knock the other off of his horse with a long, wooden stick. Following the best two out of three, the knights will then hop off their horses and engage in a sword fight. Sword fighting will then transition into bull riding, another form of early extreme sports, and then the show will feature quad racing. The Metal Mulisha Fitz Army motocross team will provide the finale for the show, demonstrating the most current extreme sport with a freestyle motocross display.

“They’re going to be jumping from ramp to ramp, doing some crazy backflips,” said Borba. “It’s a really cool event.”

The Evolution of Extreme Sports event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on July 19.

Familiar motorsport events will also be at the fair this year, including the Tractor Pull and two Monster Truck shows.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, the area’s most powerful gasoline- and alcohol-powered machines will go head-to-head to see which can pull the most weight the farthest. Friday night featured the same competition, but with all diesel-powered machines. Alcohol-powered trucks and tractors, which run on fluids like ethanol, can be fun to watch, said Borba.

“The cool thing about ethanol is that it contains more oxygen, so you can put more fuel into the cylinder and still make an explosion, which makes more horsepower,” he said.

Two Monster Truck shows will take place at 6:30 p.m. on July 20 and July 21, and will feature popular trucks like Time Flys, Wildflower, Play’n For Keeps and Terminator. Denair resident Jeff Souza and his son Hunter will also compete; Jeff will drive his full-sized truck, while Hunter will drive his mini monster truck, known as the Wrecking Machine. The July 20 Monster Truck show will also include Junior Outlaw Sprint Car Racing.

“What really makes motorsports a valuable piece of the fair is not only the high-end entertainment factor of having some of the best in monster trucks on the planet here, but we also have the local part and that’s what makes it so cool,” said Borba. “People are going to sit in the grandstands and see people they go to school with, go to church with or maybe live down the street from. That’s what makes it fun.”

Plenty of locals will be participating in this year’s two Destruction Derbies, hosted by the Turlock Lions Club, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 17 and 18. In the Destruction Derby, participants prepare a car and attempt to make it safer by adding an interior cage and removing dangerous or flammable parts, all to try and ram into their opponents’ car, rendering their vehicle useless and knocking them out of the competition.

The Turlock Lions Club has been hosting the fair’s Destruction Derby since 1945, said derby coordinator Carl Mikkelsen.

“It has evolved over the years, from the way the cars are built to the way the event is operated,” said Mikkelsen.

The sport has grown to include categories like the Powderpuff, for female drivers, and a category for motorhomes. While both business-sponsored drivers and individuals partake in the competition annually, Mikkelsen explained that the derby has seen fewer and fewer participants in recent years. Nonetheless, the public continues to come out and support the event year after year.

“It’s a family event, and entire families have been coming for decades to watch,” he said. “It generates revenue, and generates traffic through the fair gate.”

“The Stanislaus County Fair has gone above and beyond to provide first class entertainment here, and they’re really thinking outside the box,” said Borba, who added the fair has been helpful in allowing an extra day of Tractor Pulls, as well as permitting the new Evolution of Extreme Sports event. “They’re doing everything they can to get good entertainment out here.”

To purchase tickets for events at the FoodMaxx Arena, visit