||Dan Runte, Rick Long, Ron Bachman, Rodney
Tweedy, Nigel Morris, Alan Hartsock, Eric Meagher, Eric Tack, Keith
Sturgeon, Jerry Dalton, Jim Heineman, Jim Kmiec, Brian Bertoletti, Amber
||2005 Ford Super Duty
||572 c.i. Ford Hemi
Bigfoot is regarded as the original monster truck and remains one of the most
popular trucks in the United States. Bigfoot 4x4, Inc. is owned and operated by
its creator, Bob Chandler.
Bigfoot Monster Truck History
A former construction contractor from the St. Louis, Missouri area, Chandler
began building the first Bigfoot in 1975, using the Chandler family's 1974 Ford
F-250 four-wheel-drive pickup. Chandler had been using the truck for off-roading
on weekends and would find that automotive shops in the Midwest generally did
not carry the parts needed to repair his frequently-worked 4x4. To remedy this
problem, Chandler and his wife Marilyn, along with friend Jim Kramer, opened a
shop called Midwest Four Wheel Drive and Performance Center in Hazelwood,
Missouri, which remains as Bigfoot's headquarters to this day. The truck was
used as a rolling billboard for the shop, adorned with the various accessories
Chandler sold in his new shop, as it slowly became taller.
The truck's first attention-grabbing modification came when Chandler got wind of
an idea proposed to the U.S. Army of making steering capable on both axles of
their four-wheeled vehicles, so that in the event of breakage in the front axle,
it could simply be switched with the rear axle and held straight with a pin so
that the vehicle could resume regular use with steering. Chandler decided to
test that theory on his truck, but in addition would actually enable steering on
the rear axle. The end result was a new innovation in automotive technology —
the "4x4x4," or a vehicle with four wheels, four-wheel-drive, and
In 1979, Chandler started making appearances at truck and tractor pulls, as well
as car shows, with his newly christened "Bigfoot" to show off the truck's
capabilities as well as to promote his shop. The truck's growing popularity led
to its appearance in the 1981 Gus Trikonis film "Take This Job and Shove It."
While these accomplishments were certainly admirable, Chandler's next experiment
would not only change the life and fortunes of a middle-class pickup owner from
the St. Louis area, it would change the motorsports world forever. In 1981,
Chandler obtained permission from a local farmer to place two dilapidated cars
in his field, so that Chandler could videotape himself crushing the cars with
Bigfoot as a joke. When Chandler began playing the video in his shop, a man
promoting a motorsports event in Columbia, Missouri asked him to duplicate the
stunt in front of a crowd. After initial hesitation because of the destructive
image it would convey, Chandler eventually agreed to perform at the event in
April of the following year in what is believed to be the first public car
crush. Later that year, a second Bigfoot (built to help meet the steadily rising
demand to see the vehicle) received more major media attention by crushing cars
at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. In 1983, Bigfoot began receiving
sponsorship from Ford Motor Company a relationship which continued until
December 22, 2007 when an entry on the Bigfoot website announced that the
sponsorship had ended.
By 1984, many truck owners around the country had taken to imitating Chandler's
template of outfitting their vehicles with tires standing 66 inches tall, with
some trucks sporting even larger tires. Promoters of truck and tractor pulls,
such as SRO Motorsports (later the United States Hot Rod Association) and Golden
State Promotions, noticed the exploding popularity of the giant trucks and began
booking several to crush cars at their events, with the eventual result being
the advent of side-by-side, drag-racing style car crushing events. A popular
example of the early days of monster truck racing is portrayed in the 1986 home
video release Return of the Monster Trucks, which involves a truck pull, car
crushing, and mud bogging all in the same course. That event, held in the
Louisiana Superdome, was won by Bigfoot, as well as most of the events it was
entered into in the mid 1980s. By this point, Chandler had already built an
entire fleet of "Bigfoot" trucks to accommodate the vast demand for his vehicle,
which remained as the most popular and marketable monster truck despite the
large number of imitators. In 1987, Chandler added to his innovations by
founding the Monster Truck Racing Association, which remains today as the chief
voice in monster truck safety.
Another form of competition Chandler faced was the physical size of the
competition. Many truck owners had taken to calling their vehicles the "World's
Largest Monster Truck," so Chandler outfitted his "Bigfoot 4" vehicle with
10-foot-tall tires he had purchased from a junkyard owner in Seattle, Washington
for only $1000. The tires had been previously used by an Arctic snow train in
Alaska by the U.S. Army in the 1950s. In 1986, Chandler built a new truck,
"Bigfoot 5", specifically for the tires. Upon its public debut in Indianapolis,
Indiana, the truck immediately took the title of "World's Tallest, Widest, and
Heaviest Monster Truck" and was eventually given official recognition of the
title by the Guinness Book of Records in 2002. With a second set of 10-foot-tall
tires attached, the truck stands 15 feet, six inches, measures 20 feet, 5 inches
across, and weighs over 38,000 pounds.
Bigfoot continues to be in huge demand, even today. Partnerships with Microsoft,
Firestone, DuPont, and Summit Racing have kept Bigfoot in the spotlight in
recent years. The Microsoft sponsorship in particular has led to several PC and
console video games starring Bigfoot. Always seeking to further innovate the
sport, Chandler created monster truck racing's first open-invitation point
series, ProMT, in 2000, which still in existence today, albeit only in Europe.
As for closed-invitation promotions, Bigfoot ceased running events for the USHRA
in 1998 (due to a dispute involving Team Bigfoot's usage of video footage and
pictures) and has not returned since. Bigfoot appeared frequently for USA
Motorsports and Motorsports Entertainment Group until both of those companies
were purchased by the USHRA's parent company, Live Nation. Bigfoot still races
for the Special Events Promotion Company (which hosted many ProMT races before
ProMT ceased sanctioning races in North America after 2004), Chris Arel
Motorsports, Checkered Flag Promotions, and AMP Live Events, among others. In
2007 the BIGFOOT team brought back Midwest 4 Wheel Drive at the Home of BIGFOOT
in Hazelwood, Missouri.
As a token of appreciation for fathering a brand new form of motorsport that
remains widely popular today, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inducted Chandler
into their Class of 2006.
In May of 2006, Bigfoot signed former professional wrestler and Live Nation
driver Debra 'Madusa' Miceli to drive a monster truck dubbed "The Madusa
Bigfoot." In September of 2006 it was announced that "The Madusa Bigfoot" will
be run on the "Bigfoot 10" chassis.
Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the
Mighty Monster Trucks
Interesting Bigfoot Facts
There is no Bigfoot 13. 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.
In 1998, Bigfoot 9 took a tour of Brazil. When it was due
to return to the United States, however, a customs incident caused the
truck to be confiscated. It is currently used by an independent company
within the country, 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 the world monster truck
long jump record on September 11th, 1999 in Smyrna, Tennessee, when he
jumped the truck a total of 202 feet, clearing a 727 jetliner in the
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".
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 #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.
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
The following is a list of all the vehicles built or owned
by Bigfoot 4x4, Inc., and their current status.
Bigfoot 1, built in 1975. Mostly used as a display
Bigfoot 2, built in 1982. Modified in 1992 for the purpose
of giving fans monster truck rides in the bed of the vehicle, and renamed
Safarifoot. Sold in 2000 and remains employed as a ride truck for an
Bigfoot 3, built in 1983. Received same ride-truck
modifications as Bigfoot 2. Donated to E.M.T. Financial Fund in 2000.
Currently owned by Steve Ford, who has renamed the truck Legendand uses it
as an exhibition vehicle.
Bigfoot 4, built in 1984. Used as a display truck before
being sold in 2007.
Bigfoot 5, built in 1986. Mostly used as a display vehicle
at Bigfoot's headquarters in Hazelwood.
Bigfoot 6, built in 1986. Sold to a British promoter after
a tour of Thailand in 1994.
Bigfoot 7, built in 1988. Modified in 1995 to accommodate
10-foot-tall tires. On permanent display at Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee,
Bigfoot 8, built in 1989. Used as a display truck and as a
race truck if another cannot attend a scheduled date. Driven by Jerry
Dalton and Scott Winger.
Bigfoot 9, built in 1990. See above section.
Bigfoot 10, built in 1992. Active race truck, driven by
Bigfoot 11, built in 1993. Active race truck, driven by
Debra "Madusa" Miceli.
Bigfoot 12, built in 1993. Built specifically as a display
truck, driven by Ron Bachmann.
Bigfoot 14, built in 1993. Active race truck, driven by
Bigfoot 15, built in 1994. Active race truck, driven by
Bigfoot 16, built in 2007. Active race truck, driven by
Bigfoot 17, built in 2003. Active race truck, competing
exclusively in Europe. Driven by Nigel Morris.
Ms. Bigfoot, built in 1985. Name later changed to "Bigfoot
Ranger." Sold in 1993.
Bigfoot Shuttle, built in 1985. Sold in 2002.
Bigfoot Fastrax, purchased in 1987. Mostly used as a
display vehicle at Bigfoot's headquarters in Hazelwood.
Unnumbered Bigfoot, built in 1999. Built specifically for
permanent display at Race Rock restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada. After the
restaurant went out of business, it was sold to the Historic Auto
Attractions museum in Roscoe, Illinois, where it currently resides.
Bigfoot 18 - Under construction in the United Kingdom.
Bigfoot 19 - Under construction at the BIGFOOT shop in
Hazelwood, Missouri. Will be a display truck when completed.