The Hoosierist: Lucas Oil Stadium’s Dirty Secret

Monster truck rally protocol, snowless winters, and Native American artifacts. Ask The Hoosierist.

Q: How do they get dirt down (and up again) at Lucas Oil Stadium for monster truck rallies? You’d think it would get everywhere.
A: It seems like the last thing you should do to an expensive indoor stadium is fill it with dirt. Yet that’s exactly what must happen to accommodate motorcycle races and monster truck rallies—which The Hoosierist was surprised to learn are still a “thing” with the beef jerky and Mountain Dew crowd. To keep the mess to a minimum, Lucas Oil Stadium management requires promoters to cover the arena’s field with plastic tarp, along with two layers of plywood. This, apparently, is enough to keep soil off the gridiron. To prevent it from wafting around in massive clouds and polluting everything from the seats to the snack bars, the dirt is also kept slightly wet. Management must do a good job of monitoring the moistness, because so far, no one has complained about gritty nachos.

Q: Have we ever had a winter without snow in Indianapolis?
A: Al Shipe, a local service hydrologist at the National Weather Service, answers this question with a simple “nope.” Because even though Indy has experienced some warm winters over the years, we’ve never been totally free of snow. The record for non-white cold seasons was 1918–1919, when the city received only 5.5 inches. And in 2016–2017, we got a paltry 9.7 inches. Most of our recent winters, however, have dumped plenty of the stuff on us. In 2002–2003, we were socked by 50 inches, and in 2013–2014, we got 55.7 inches. So keep those snow tires handy, and top off your salt supply.

Q: I just found a tomahawk head while walking around my uncle’s farm. What, ethically, should I do with this artifact?
A: Well, you could always throw it in a box and keep it in your basement. That’s what The Hoosierist did with the many Native American relics unearthed on his grandfather’s Johnson County farm. But in these more politically sensitive times, some folks might feel icky about an activity that seems similar to plundering. According to Michele Greenan, director of archaeology for the Indiana State Museum, there are several approaches you can take. It’s legal to collect artifacts out of fields (as long as they’re your fields). But if it’s eating at you, feel free to donate them to a university or museum for study. By the way, those objects might go back further than you imagine. “I see things that appear similar to ‘tomahawk’ heads, but actually turn out to be much older,” Greenan says. “They can date back 5,000 years.” Here’s hoping any curses associated with pilfering such items have statutes of limitations.


Have Indiana-related questions? Send them to