By Ryan Buck
This weekend’s guests of the Canfield Fairgrounds grandstand will offer a rude awakening for patrons expecting to see the harness racing, cheerleading competitions and demolition derbies that fill the venue every Labor Day.
As part of the Canfield Rotary Fireworks Fest, Boardman native Joe Sylvester and his Bad Habit truck will headline the Return of the Monsters on Saturday evening.
Racing and freestyle tricks from six of the world’s best 10,000-pound trucks will conclude the evening’s events after freestyle motocross and flatland freestlyle stunt artists take the dirt.
Sylvester, 29, is the reigning Young Guns Shootout World Champion, which is the largest monster truck event in the world.
After eight years on The Monster Tour and numerous titles, including breaking an 11-year-old long jump mark in the Guinness Book of World Records, Sylvester envisioned bringing the sport he loves closer to home.
Sylvester said the last monster truck show in the Mahoning Valley was at least four or five years ago. That was something he desperately wanted to change.
“The past eight years I’ve been all over the continental United States,” said Sylvester, who resides in Canfield. “We travel 30 to 35 weeks out of the year. Now it’s my chance to show my hometown what we do.”
The event has been a long time coming.
“We decided last year we were going to do it,” he Sylvester said. “About three months ago, we began planning and preparing for it.”
The 2005 World Freestlye and Monster Jam Champion Jimmy Creten’s Bounty Hunter truck will also be in competition.
Sylvester’s event will precede the annual fireworks show at the Fairgrounds.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. with a pit party for spectators to meet and greet the drivers and teams. The competition will follow at 7 p.m.