Behemoth on the road

FD team to use Super Crewzer in Fireball Run

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich, at right, along with Fort Dodge Ford Toyota general manager Matt Johnson, at left, stand on the tailgate of the custom Ford F650 truck they'll be driving in the Fireball Run event this week. The teams will arrive in Fort Dodge Wednesday.

Those who come to downtown Fort Dodge Wednesday afternoon to welcome the participants in the Fireball Run Adventurally race shouldn’t have any trouble picking out the vehicle the Fort Dodge team is in.

It’s huge.

Matt Johnson, general manager of Fort Dodge Ford Toyota, and Matt Bemrich, Fort Dodge mayor, will be driving the behemoth from the race’s start in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to the finish line in Rapid City, South Dakota.

“It’s a Ford F650 Super Crewzer,” Johnson said. “It’s a custom build.”

Some of the other vehicles might be able to fit under their rig. It takes a 6-foot step ladder to get into the truck bed and it weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Ford Toyota general manager Matt Johnson, at left, along with Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich, look over the custom Fort F650 truck they'll be driving this week in the Fireball Run. They estimate the truck weighs over 10,000 pounds.

“The other teams have everything from a Ferrari to hybrids,” Johnson said. “This is way the biggest pickup truck ever.”

During their run, and at stops along the way which include Fort Dodge, crews will be filming the action for the television show Fireball Run. At each stop, the team is given a set of trivia clues that will lead them to a location in that city. Once they locate the site, they are presented with a unique task or challenge to perform. About 40 teams make up the race.

While the end result is a season of the TV show, there is a much more serious purpose pursued during the trek.

Helping to find missing and exploited children.

Participants distribute posters featuring missing children along the route.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich, at left, along with Fort Dodge Ford Toyota general manager Matt Johnson, try out the ladder they'll be bringing along for their drive in the Fireball Run this week. They said the custom Ford F650 is the largest vehicle any team will be driving during the race.

“Our vehicle will also have it on its side,” Bemrich said. “Our missing child is named Eugene Martin.”

Both are excited to be part of the effort to help locate those children. That part is called the Race to Recover America’s Missing Children.

“Over 50 of those cases have been solved,” Johnson said.

They are also both happy that the show will feature scenes from Fort Dodge and show them to a national audience. The event is an opportunity for the community to show off the efforts put into the downtown and other areas during recent years.

“We’re honored to show off Fort Dodge and show off the hidden gems in our community,” Johnson said.

So what can the pair expect out on the road and what can viewers of the show expect once it airs?

“It’s a combination of your favorite adventure show mixed with your favorite trivia,” Bemrich said. “With a lot of Dirty Jobs thrown in too.”

Some of the logistics about who does the driving and who reads the map will be worked out by the team once they’re on the road. Bemrich had not had the opportunity to practice driving the truck. And certain things with a vehicle that big are just, well, different.

Like getting diesel.

“We’ll have to use the large truck stop lane,” Bemrich said.

While Bemrich might not have the most driving experience, Johnson has had some time behind the wheel already.

So exactly how does the big truck drive?

“Great,” Johnson said. “It’s a Ford.”

The racers are expected to arrive in Fort Dodge between 3 and 7 p.m. Wednesday. They will be gathering at the Fort Dodge City Square and Central Avenue. The public is encouraged to come downtown and greet them.

Fort Dodge is also an overnight stop, and the racers will depart from the same location Thursday morning.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today