In a final that featured two world-famous monster trucks with similar monikers, Dave Harkey defeated Dan Runte in the first-ever Battle of the Bigfoot.

A near-sellout crowd at Rocky Mountain Raceway saw Bigfoot Blue narrowly edge Bigfoot Summit in the 10th annual Clash of the Titans, the national championship of monster truck racing.

"I've been coming out to Rocky Mountain Raceway for years, and I love coming here," said Harkey, who lost to Runte in a preliminary race. "You win some and you lose some, but you can never give up because you never know who is going to come out on top."

In spite of his extensive experience at RMR, one of the most difficult tracks in the country, Harkey wasn't even expected to reach the finals. Few spectators considered him a threat to dethrone Grave Digger, the most popular competitor.

The fans rallied around Pablo Huffaker and his Grave Digger, the ominous-looking black and purple beast that set the track record one year ago.

The hundreds of fans didn't seem to help Huffaker, and many of his loyal legions went home after seeing the Grave Digger fall unexpectedly in the third round, the race that set up the all-Bigfoot final.

Another of the night's major draws was Ron Duncombe, a West Jordan native making his racing debut in the Monster Trekker. An outstanding qualifying run put him in sixth place for the side-by-side racing.

"I'm still shaking like a leaf on a tree," said Duncombe after his qualifying run. "I was just focusing on going out there and putting on a good show."

Duncombe didn't look like a nervous rookie during his first-round win over Daron Basl and the El Matador. The local hero took an early lead and held on for a narrow victory over the veteran Basl.

"It was hectic for sure," said Duncombe. "But I am so excited about doing so well against these guys who have been racing for years . . . You'd think I won the lottery."

His luck didn't last, however, and a near spin-out on the first corner of Duncombe's second run ended his hopes of walking away with the title.


E-mail: tquinn@desnews.com