In 1979 a Chevrolet powered pick up truck with huge 66" Goodyear tires was born - only the 2nd Monster Truck to ever be built since Bob Chandler developed Bigfoot back in 1974. Utilizing heavy duty 5 ton military axles, a stock yet slightly beefed up frame, a heavy duty leaf spring suspension, supercharged 454ci Chevy engine, and weighing in at about 18,000 pounds Fred hauled this truck to local fairs and drag strips putting on exhibition car crushing shows. It was his love for animals that brought the name Bearfoot to the truck. Fred has 2 American Black bears named Sugar and Spice (now 17yrs old) that traveled the show circuit with him.
Fred and Jack couldnt come to an agreement as to which direction to go with the design and future of Bearfoot, so their partnership and friendship was dissolved. Jack Willman Sr. - who lives just a few miles down the road from Shafer went on to build his own Monster Truck aptly named Taurus. By the late 1980's Fred had expanded Bearfoot 4x4, Inc. into an 8 truck company.
To keep up with the growing demand, Fred along with several top drivers were taking his trucks to all parts of the US, Hawaii, Canada and even the Carribbean for shows. Working for the best promotors he could find, like The US Hot Rod Association, or USA Motorsports Fred established sources that would give Bearfoot more media exposure than ever before.
As more and more Monster Trucks came to exist, the competition turned from who was the biggest or most unique to who could go the fastest, jump the highest, and build them the lightest. In 1984 the first ever side by side Monster Truck race was held by The US Hot Rod Association. Within a few years they were racing the trucks for crowds throughout the country. In 1990 the USHRA ran a huge points series sponsored at that time by Camel cigaretts. The Camel Mud and Monster Series drew about 50 of the top Monster Truck competitors from around the country to compete year round for a year end purse. Fred Shafer had designed a new box framed, fiberglass bodied truck named the Bearfoot Racer. It utilized custom lightweight ZF axles, a stronger motor, experimental Nitrogen shocks "borrowed" from another big race team, and the truck was built all around lighter and safer. Fred captured the 1990 Camel Mud and Monster Series World Championship that year. It wasnt without incident however. Fred flipped the truck at a non-points race in Union Grove, Wisconsin only weeks before the finals were to be held. Having ran strong all year, he finished up with an impressive 11 race winning streak, clinching the title over Taurus by only 4 points! This final showdown occurred in Chicago, Illinois at the Rosemont Horizon where the battle had come down to the very last show of the weekend.
Knowing that Team Bigfoot had just debuted their first of a kind all tube frame, 10,000 pound #8 race truck in 1989, and that Taurus already had one too - Fred Shafer was glad he was putting the finishing touches on his next generation of truck. Weighing in at an ultra light 8,000 pounds the Bearfoot Racer #10 was an all tube frame, center seated fiberglass bodied truck. Utilizing Foxx custom nitrogen shocks, light weight rims and a four link suspension system, it ran a lenco 3 speed transmission, quick change gear box, and a 572ci Chevy motor putting out 1800hp. The motor was so strong for the light truck that Fred actually downsized to a 557ci motor so he could hang on.
In 1991 he ran The Camel Mud and Monster Series, and made his debut in the Special Events 4 Wheel Jamboree points series. This year brought out many newly designed race trucks, and Fred had his hands full. Finishing well within the top 5 in both series, Shafer knew he needed just a litle bit more. At about the midway point of the 1991 season, Fred found himself secretly negotiating with Dodge Motorsports about a corporate sponsorship. Fred had the knowhow, the experience and the resources, but was lacking the money to finance the type of professional team he needed to continue racing without falling from the top. Starting in January 1992, Bearfoot would switch to Dodge...
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