Motorsports Spectacular brings “death-defying” stunts to Lethbridge this weekend featuring heart-pounding monster truck races, jaw-dropping motocross performances, monster truck rides and the ultimate pre-show pit party.
Imagine a 10,000-pound monster truck flying through the air in a hockey arena or the roar of a dirt bike full throttle.
“When the trucks start their engines, I still get that little shiver. That little jolt up and down the back of my neck,” says announcer Doug de Nance. “I know these guys are going to go out and do their very best.”
Being around that scene is contagious, de Nance adds, “If I can get excited like that, I hope that transfers to the audience.”
Although monster trucks seem larger-than-life, there’s a lot more to ‘em than meets the eye. An 11-foot-wide and 12-foot-tall truck can be driven out in the middle of a farmer’s field and a driver can have a lot of fun and not wreck anything. “But if you put that same vehicle into a hockey arena, it takes some definite skill to be able to do the stuff they do. That, to me, becomes the reflection for what I am always more interested in as a fan.”
As a fan, everyone has their favourite team or player because at the end of the day, fans connect to people. Fans of motorsports are no different – they have favourite trucks or drivers too. Skills and personalities are often showcased in smaller arenas, including Enmax Centre.
“That is what I try to highlight when we do the shows. Is to help people connect with people because I think that is how you really build fans.”
According to the one and only voice of motorsports, de Nance got his start announcing in motocross racing, which wasn’t “just a bunch of guys ripping around a dirt tack on motorcycles,” he notes. “It’s really a physical sport.”
“But I also am a fan of people who are good at what they do.”
During his formative years, de Nance would introduce a signature brand of storytelling during the duller moments of a race. “Making it more like a fan giving insights when the race was not particularly exciting.”
At one point in time, de Nance reminisced about younger days when his grandfather was an announcer at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. “I got to go to a lot of hockey games, but I also got access to Maple Leaf Gardens for virtually anything that was on. That meant if you had the circus there – you could go every night, which I did. It made me think of the circus. We’ve got this act with monster trucks and we’ve got this over here with something else. Like a three-ring circus.”
“I looked at my role as being more like the ringmaster, as opposed to the announcer.”
From that persona, de Nance would never position himself as being anything other than a fan. “I am a fan of people who can do things really well and being around those people is exciting and that is pretty much what we are going to see in Lethbridge.”
What de Nance finds interesting about smaller arenas is, compared to bigger shows such as Monster Jam, he can see the people. “I can see how they’re reacting and what is exciting for them and try to amplify those things.”
Not only has de Nance been travelling for over 40 years, he has also developed some great friendships on the road. “That includes not only the performers you see as the audience, but all the people behind the scenes that make it work.”
“When we come to a place like Lethbridge, the arenas are very familiar places to us. The dirt on the ground and all that sort of stuff and it’s like a family reunion,” says de Nance. “I think that transfers. When we’re having a good time, the fans will have a good time.”
At every event, de Nance says, doors open an hour prior to the show for a pit party. Fans can visit the arena floor and see the trucks up close and meet the drivers – “who love their fans.”
Kids can get autographs from their favourite drivers and there’s also an opportunity to take a ride in a monster truck.
“When you get up inside of that truck, it’s a whole lot of fun. To be able to ride a monster truck, is always kind of a cool thing,” says de Nance.
Don’t miss the Motorsports Spectacular at Enmax Centre Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at enmaxcentre.ca.