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Brothers Kelvin and Clinton Ramer team up to enjoy a Natural High

It's big, it's loud and look out!

Meet Natural High, a towering monster truck created right here in Watsonville. At more than 12 feet wide, 10 feet tall and more than 10 feet long, the bruising bright red truck has just rolled out of the garage after seven years in the making by the teamwork of brothers Kelvin and Clinton Ramer of Auto Care Transport and Towing.

Today the world of monster trucks will get a growling introduction to Natural High at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego at the annual Monster Jam competition.

Driver Kelvin Ramer said he's convinced Natural High will make a grand entry.

"Over 90 percent of this machine has been fabricated right here in our shop, and we went the extra mile on this truck," Kelvin said. "We've got a 427 Chevy alcohol, fuel-injected blown engine that delivers about 1,200 horsepower. There's front and rear independent steering."

The Fiberglas body is configured from a Chevy SSR pickup, which is a retro model based on a 1948 design. The rig is situated on a massive jungle gym of 120-wall seamless, welded tubing. It has a manual-shift automatic transmission.

The tires are epic in themselves. They measure 66 inches tall and 44 inches wide and run thousands of dollars apiece.

"We've actually raced the truck twice before as more or less a test run," Kelvin said. "But that was before the Chevy body was up and ready the way it is now. The San Diego competition will be the debut for Natural High."

Both Kelvin and Clinton work as tow operators for Auto Care, which is a full-service tow and transport company. Auto Care is the sponsor for Natural High.

Kelvin said he and his brother got outstanding assistance in putting the truck together, including a one-of-a-kind paint job by Body by Hank and pristine lettering by Real Ralph.

A steering wheel is used to steer the front wheels, and the rear wheels are steered with a toggle switch. The driver is held in with a six-point harness. The truck is loaded with safety features including four radio kill systems that can stall the engine in the event of an emergency by a person outside the truck.

The Natural High team competes today in San Diego and then again at the UAHRA Monster Jam in Anaheim on Jan. 29. (See USHRA.com for more information.)

Typical races are only 150 to 300 feet long, but involve blistering stunts such as crawling or shooting airborne over rows of parked cars and performing sharp J-style turns.

"This thing is strong enough that if I just stomp on the pedal the whole truck just hops into the air - it's a rush," Kelvin said.

"I've been amazed with monster trucks for a lot of years," he continued. "It's just a lot of fun, and these events are all about families and friends getting together."
 

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