WHAT do monster trucks, car crushing, bike stunts and Joey Essex have in common?
They will all be appearing at this weekend’s Truckfest event, which will see around 30,000 people flock to the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston.
The event is the biggest and best yet, with hundreds of trucks and emergency vehicles on display, car-crushing battles between monster trucks Bigfoot #17 and Bigfoot #10 and celebrity appearances from reality TV star Joey, Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan, plus the stars of the popular fly-on-the-wall American documentary series Lizard Lick Towing.
The two-day event runs from 9am to 5.30pm both today and tomorrow and promises to be a fun family day out – whether you are a big lover of trucks or not.
“The way we look at it is whether this is something we would want to take our children and grandchildren to,” explains event director Bob Limming.
“And the answer is yes, this is somewhere we would go with our families because it’s a special day out.
“It isn’t just something where you need to be interested in trucks. The focal point of Truckfest is the main arena and it is solid action from beginning to end.
“It must work because here we are over 30 years later and it continues to grow and the interest continues to grow.
“The analogy I use is when I was a lad we had something like collecting steam train numbers – something big and out of the ordinary. And this fills that void.”
Truckfest runs five events each year in different parts of the country.
“For us, the Royal Highland Centre is the perfect backdrop to it,” says Bob. “The idea was that this event would not only be for the haulage industry, it would be an opportunity for the road haulier himself to get involved and make a statement through the way they looked after their trucks.
“Many of these trucks are highly customised and look spectacular. When you get all these trucks together it’s awesome to see.
“It’s bringing all that together with a fun family weekend.”
Bob is particularly pleased with this year’s celebrity appearances – especially securing Ron and Amy Shirley, who run a towing and recovery company and are the unlikely stars of Lizard Lick Towing.
“We discovered the Lizard Lick Towing people and in all my years of doing Truckfest I have never seen the level of interest we have seen with them. Put that together with Joey Essex and Michelle Keegan and it’s a great combination of celebrities.
“They will be in the main arena with all the wonderful trucks that are there and will be wandering round all the stalls and signing autographs and chatting to people.
“There’s such a mixture of trucks, celebrities and action.”
He adds: “We watch people coming in and then leaving hours later with big smiles on their faces.
“We will have people queueing up to get in from 7.30am, even though it doesn’t open until 9am. It really is a popular event.”
But despite all the exciting vehicles on offer at Ingliston throughout the event, there is one mode of transport that Bob is desperate to go on.
“After all these years, I’m looking forward to having a ride out on the tram,” he says.
Children will be well-catered for across the weekend, with everything from face painting and funfair rides to shots on real monster trucks.
They will be allowed to sit on the trucks and in the collection of emergency vehicles which will also be on display.
Tom Siddall, events director with Live Promotions, says: “There’s loads of stuff for the kids – everything from face painting to balloon modelling. There’s also a massive funfair, bungee and inflatable slides. And there’s remote controlled trucks that they can have a shot with.
“And there’s stuff for the ladies, too, if they’re not interested in trucks. There’s a great retail area with lots of stalls to look round.”
He adds that the trucks themselves are great to just wander round and look at – as the judges will be doing when they search for the best entries in the various competition categories.
“First and foremost, it’s about trucks. There are hundreds of all shapes and sizes,” Tom explains.
“The paint jobs on some of these trucks are just amazing. Little boys and girls will be fascinated looking at all these fantastic trucks of all sizes and colours.
“It’s all about the drivers entering their trucks into a series of competitions. They are all competing against each other in categories like best custom job and best kept.
“The drivers have all got their cab doors open and are quite happy for kids to go and sit in them.”
Nigel Morris’ monster truck Bigfoot #17 has arrived at Ingliston all the way from the US, and will be going head to head with JR Adams’ Bigfoot #10 in the main arena in a UK versus USA special.
The car-crushing and car-jumping events are expected to be one of the biggest draws for crowds.
There will be some recovery displays and jaw-dropping action from stunt bike team Broke FMX all in the main arena.
“In the main arena the monster trucks will be jumping over cars and car crushing. There will be monster truck rides where the kids can get in the back of a monster truck and have a go,” says Tom.
“Truckfest has been going more than 30 years and is a big, big brand. We get 250,000 people across the five events we run across the country. For anyone who loves trucks and adrenaline, it’s a great fun day out.”
Ticket prices are £16 for adults at the gate and children (5-15) cost £7. Family tickets are £39 (two adults and two children). Tickets can be pre-booked by e-tickets online on www.truckfest.co.uk.