It's not what you buy. It's what you build. That's the motto of Bryce Schopmeyer and it certainly applies to the monster truck he built that he calls One Bad Ton.
Schopmeyer's 1981 Chevorlet, K-30, 4-wheel drive truck graces the cover of the February edition of Four Wheeler magazine. Four Wheeler is an international publication written for four-wheel-drive professionals and enthusiasts.
"I think I was born to do this," the son of Roger and Molly Schopmeyer said. "Ever since I was a little kid I always had to be tinkering with something."
He seems to have mechanical knowledge far advanced for his years. When he was just 13, the Bowling Green, Ind. resident sold his four wheeler to buy a cab and chassis that eventually became One Bad Ton.
"Me, my dad and Bryan Allender built it from the frame up. It took us three years."
The 19-year-old attends the University of Northwestern Ohio, in Lima, Ohio. He's majoring in diesel technology and hopes to get a job with Caterpillar after graduating from the two year program.
The 2003 Northview High School graduate has always loved engines and big trucks. Monster trucks have big tires and big horsepower. The 35 inch tires on the 480 hp truck with the 502 cubic inches big block engine, shown in the magazine, have already been replaced with 39 1/2 inch tires.
Schopmeyer explained that working with monster trucks is a sport with the main purposes centered around racing and showing. One Bad Ton is strictly a show truck. And it has shown well.
Schopmeyer has been involved in many shows on the circuit for the Four Wheel Jamboree Nationals. He won first place at Indianapolis in the international Show Car Association for the Modified Four-Wheel Drive Class in January, 2003.
It was at the September, 2002, Jamboree in Indianapolis that Schopmeyer's truck was selected to be used by Four Wheeler. Nearly 3000 attend this event each year. The chosen six were told their trucks would be used by the magazine but there were no guarantees they would all be used for the cover. Schopmeyer didn't find out until mid November of 2003, that his truck would be on the cover.
"I filled out a tech sheet about my truck," Schopmeyer said. "The story was written by Ken Brubaker, Four Wheelers feature editor in the Midwest Bureau.
"I was kind of in shock at first when Ken came up to me and asked if I'd want to have my truck photographed for a possible cover shot in Four Wheeler. It didn't really sink in until I got to the photo shoot the next day at Belleville.
"One of my goals was to be on the cover of Four Wheeler since I was a little kid. This is a big thing to me.
"There's no monetary rewards from showing trucks," Schopmeyer continued. "But there's still a lot of competition involved in it. And it's hard to describe the pride you feel when you win a show."
Schopmeyer was asked about his motto: It's not what you buy. It's what you build.
"Why not build it yourself? he asked rhetorically. "I had the fun of doing it and the time I spent with my dad, and Bryan. It doesn't compare to just going out and buying it."
The lean, young man's enthusiasm and true joy showed as he talked about his truck. His eyes got bigger and sparkled. His voice raised in excitement as he stood and gestured emphatically with his hands.
"There's just the joy of being able to walk outside and look at it," Schopmeyer said fervently. "And get inside and being able to drive it. I feel like I'm in a different world.
"You can drive up the streets of Brazil and people will stop and look at it. If you stop, there's always people coming over asking questions about it. It just makes me feel happy. I feel complete when I'm in that truck."