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Where do they get those huge tires?

Tires put the "monster" in monster trucks. The tires that monster-truckers use are taller than the average 10-year-old (66 inches tall) and weigh about 800 pounds apiece. Many start out as tires for huge fertilizer spreaders that work in the farm fields of the Midwest.

The first monster trucks were heavy -very heavy. Some weighed more than 15,000 pounds. The trucks needed big, fat tires to distribute their weight. The farm-equipment tires were perfect. Perfect, that is, after a few modifications.

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The first thing monster-truckers do with expensive new fertilizer-spreader tires is to start slashing them with knives. The tires are shaved, clipped, and carved down to size. Steve Macklyn, who drives a monster truck called The Executioner, says it takes between 8 and 12 hours to sculpt the tires, using a special "hot knife."

"When you start grinding on them, you get black rubber flying everywhere," Mr. Macklyn says. "It's a messy job." Up to 300 pounds of rubber are cut off each tire. Lighter tires mean faster race times. The process also lets the crew customize the tires with their own special tread design.

Bigfoot's mechanics used to have to custom-carve their tires. Not anymore. Now they just custom-order them from Firestone - for $1,800 apiece.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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