Despite Saturday's scorching temperatures, crowds from near and far gathered at lot in Hazelwood for the company's fifth annual open house.
The event was bigger and better than ever, complete with five of Bigfoot's monster trucks and many other large trucks area owners displayed. Fans enjoyed the family-friendly event, which included a barbecue, drinks, contests for miniature and battery-operated monster trucks and two car-crushing events.
Bigfoot store manager and webmaster Doug Welker told Hazelwood Patch the company started their open house five years ago as an "experiment."
"We just tried it out for the heck of it, without any big expectations," Welker said. "We knew that we'd become a tourist attraction, but we had no idea the open house would be so huge. The first year, we had thousands of people come from all over the United States and even a few from Canada."
Since then, Welker said the event has only grown. This year, Welker and co-workers decided to hold the open house earlier in the summer in order to avoid high temperatures. Previously, the event has been held at the end of June.
Welker chuckled as he told Patch that their plan had clearly not worked, pointing out the unusually high temps for early June. Saturday's temperature had reached the mid 90s by noon.
But the heat didn't stop Pete Jones and his daughter Shelby from attending the event for the first time. The two came out to admire the trucks on display and said the event was "awesome." Shelby shared that she had entered the company's raffle because she wanted to win a "cool electric guitar," and hoped she would do just that.
Shelby said her favorite truck on the lot was a black Toyota with duel wheels that "split" as she put it. Part of the reason behind her love of the vehicle was the fact that is belongs to her best friend's father, Kurt Pfitzner. Her father laughed as he said that Pfitzner is "quite protective of his truck and won't let anyone else drive it."
DeChelle Summers brought her sons, 3-year-old Asa and 9-year-old Sebastian Summers. The two very young and enthusiastic monster truck fans proudly carried toy monster trucks they purchased in the lot's shop.
Asa also sported a shirt that displayed Bigfoot, in honor of the event. Both boys said that when they grow up, their dream is to become monster truck drivers.
DeChelle shared that the family often passes Bigfoot and admires the infamously huge truck out front from the highway.
"This was our first time coming here, and we are loving it," she said. "We will love it even more once we see the car crushing!"
DeChelle said she and the boys came prepared with plenty of bottled water and sunscreen.
sponsored this year's event. Bommarito's Director of Corporate Partnership, Kevin Hall, told Hazelwood Patch that Bommarito has sponsored the open house for the last several years in a row.
"Bigfoot is a great part of our community here in Hazelwood, and we are proud to partner with them as often as we can," he said. "Bigfoot has brought a lot to our community in terms of history and revenue. We enjoy working hand-in-hand with the company to continue raising revenue for the city."
Hall said he grew up in Hazelwood and feels a special sense of dedication to the city's economy.
"We hope people will attend this event and see that Hazelwood is a wonderful community to be a part of," he said.