It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

Certainly we are grateful for the truck drivers who get everyone and everything where they need to go.

But it’s also as good a time as we can find to talk about the drivers of some very particular vehicles, which we call monster trucks.

The story of the first monster truck is as straightforward as you might guess.

As Mental Floss found out, a guy named Bob Chandler owned an auto parts store in St. Louis in the 1970s.

To get some attention for his shop, he started using parts from the store to upgrade his bright blue Ford F-250 pickup.

First he put on some big tires, then even bigger tires.

Chandler said the truck’s axles eventually gave out, so he put on bigger axles.

The bigger-sized truck started straining the engine, so he put in a bigger one.

And eventually, he had a truck that was outsized in almost every way.

Chandler’s business partner Jim Kramer joked that whenever Chandler drove, he had a “big foot” on the gas, making the giant engine roar.

So the truck became known as Bigfoot.

Word spread quickly about the massive truck from St. Louis to Hollywood, which hired Chandler to drive Bigfoot in the feature film “Take This Job And Shove It.”

The media started calling Bigfoot a “monster truck,” and soon there were other monster trucks, like USA-1, Grave Digger and King Kong.

And no surprise that as more people started finding out what monster trucks were, more and more people started asking the same question: what if somebody drove a monster truck over regular sized cars?

Thus began the monster truck circuit: tours in which thousands came to arenas to watch these giant vehicles with wild names and colorful paint jobs do tricks, race, jump over stuff and most of all, jump onto stuff.

It’s not a stretch and not a pun to say this is a BIG industry…

This weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana, it’s the Johnny Appleseed Festival.

The community where John Chapman was buried is celebrating all kinds of apple history with historical reenactments, arts and crafts demonstrations and, of course, plenty of apple-based recipes.

‘Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!’ A Crushing History of Monster Trucks (Mental Floss)

Bigfoot Creator Bob Chandler: What I’d Do Differently (Car and Driver)

Johnny Appleseed Festival

Photo by Chris via Flickr/Creative Commons