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Tough Trucks, also known as Tuff Trucks, Pro Arena Trucks and, Street Warriors, are off-road truck competitions held at 4x4 truck jamborees and monster truck events. Tough Truck competitions are a downsized form of short course off-road racing. They are run as a side act at most monster truck shows. Depending on venue and promoter, the tracks can range from as big as a football field, to as small as a hockey rink. Most track set ups consist of a handful of double jumps, single banzai jumps, uneven/rocker hills, and dirt kicker ramps, again depending on venue and promoter. Some tracks are run in Chicago Style/Round E Round Track or S-Style Track. Some competitions are run as a single pass time trial, or side by side racing.
Tough Truck competitions can be dated back to the first 4x4 clubs.[when?] Friends and other club members would navigate across obstacles courses built to test the vehicle and the drivers capabilities, thus proving who has the "toughest" truck. During the 1980s, family events (also known as special events) implemented a similar competition into their 4-wheel jamboree events. It was simply known as the obstacle course competition. During 1988 and 1989, these events became extremely popular, and with that, 1990 saw the first designated Tough Truck events.
Most early Tough Truck competitions appeared on Truck & Tractor Power television show on The Nashville Network (TNN) along with the coverage of the Monster Trucks and NMRO Mud Drags at 4 Wheel Jamborees. At this time the competition would change nearly every weekend, with someone new entering at almost every event. The more consistent, and recognizable contenders shown most on television were Kevin "Pig Out" Harel, Barb and Jim Alt, "Yeee Haa" David Fontanetta Jr, Bruce "The Moose" Scott, Wes "IceMan" Mantooth, Rory Fisher, "Jumpin" Joe Brosovich, Gary McIver, Peter Griffin, John "MM3" Mury and Troy "Air" Tate. Their most highlighted runs can be seen on a home video series known as Shake, Battle & Roll, which also features monster trucks and mud drags.
USA Motorsports and United States Hot Rod Association also ran Tough Truck Competitions at their events, but not on a large scale. At this time, Tough Truck competitions were set up on a format of whose the best this weekend, instead of having a year-long points system.
During the 1997 season, USA Motorsports kickstarted their Tough Truck Competitions with Pro Arena King of the Hill Championship. Former Joliet, Illinois native Joe Brosovich was the first official Tough Truck/Pro Arena King of the Hill Champion. This series saw future championship contenders such as Rick Armbrust, Mike Rosenthal, Terry Kuehl, and Sonny Douhrman.
As of 2001, Special Events/4 Wheel Jamboree's now have NMRO sanctioning the rules for the Mickey Thompson Tires sponsored Tough Truck Challenge. Autumn Woods Racing driver Jeffery Dedick of Wheaton, Illinois is the only person to have claimed 3 titles in the series. Jeff is also a 2 time USHRA Pro Arena Champion.
More recently, due to the revived interest and frequent television exposure in off-road racing, USHRA is attempting to do multi-truck racing with Pro Arena Trucks. Stock Tough Trucks at USHRA events are now known as Street Warriors, and are run at smaller venue or outdoor events.
Some off-road racing enthusiasts like Lil Foot Motor Sports in Denver, Co also managed to create their own Pro Arena Tough Truck Short Course series, running on similar tracks like Championship Off Road Racing or World Series of Off Road Racing. There are also shows have Tough Trucks as the main attraction. Sometimes these events will feature Tough Truck freestyle, which was influenced by of Monster Truck freestyle.
Stock Tough Trucks
Either spectator entry, daily driver, or "stock" vehicle. Referred to as Street Warriors. Some promoters require some minor safety improvements to vehicles, while others will allow any vehicle the owner wishes to enter. With only the rule of a standard seat belt and D.O.T Helmet. Roll cages are not required but are highly recommended. The ride in these vehicles can be very punishing, therefore some drivers will wear a back brace, neck brace, and kidney belt as extra protection although it is not required. Some Modified Tough Trucks will compete with the stock class. Some find this unfair but, stock trucks and cars have beaten the Modified Trucks on several occasions.
Modified Tough Truck or Pro Arena Truck
Purpose built truck modified in engine and suspension to withstand the environment of the track, as well as have more safety improvements. Trucks are set up very similar to Sportsman or Sportsman Stock Class in the Pro Short Course Racing. Most of these vehicles however, run fiberglass bodies.