Monster Jam crushes expectations

Featured Image: Grave Digger pulls a stoppie and Monster Mutt Dalmatian catches air. Monster Jam | Courtesy

The Hampton Coliseum was alive with electric energy, while the subtle smells of dirt and truck exhaust surrounded audience members during the Monster Jam Event on Friday, Sept. 22.

 With the Coliseum floor turned into a dirt track and trucks taller than grown men ready to perform, there was plenty to see when you first walked into the stands. The ear-splitting rumble of truck engines signaled the drivers preparing for the event and the impending start of automotive excitement.

The trucks were all wonderfully decorated and modified with incredible attention to detail. The wonderful line-up of eight different brightly colored trucks was a visual spectacle. 

Each truck centered around its own theme, sticking to that theme in the design, name and even its walk-up song for each driver. Monster Mutt Dalmatian, a truck designed to look like a dalmatian with a tail and ears, even sported a quirky inscription on the underside of the vehicle, reading “Beggin’ for Bones.”

Weston Anderson, a driver for Monster Jam, told audiences to, “expect the unexpected.” The event was very much just that, with unexpected twists at every turn.

The event itself has several different parts. First, trucks race each other around the track in twos. The races are in a bracket style where the winners continue to face off until only one remains standing. After the quad races, the real fun begins.

Trucks compete in a Skills Challenge, where drivers perform different tricks, such as balancing the truck on the front two tires. Each driver has two runs to amaze audiences with their skills.

After a short break, there is a freestyle motocross event, where motocross drivers launch from one side of the arena to the other while performing tricks midair.

Following this spectacle, the monster trucks come back out and begin the Freestyle event. This event is characterized by many different tricks, ranging from jumps to flips. Again, drivers are given two chances to wow fans.

The Skills Challenge, freestyle motocross and Freestyle event tricks are all judged by fans. Every member of the audience has the chance to vote on their smartphone for a select amount of time after each contestant. The votes from the audience are what decide the score of each contestant, and ultimately the winner. Points from each event are totaled to determine the overall winner of the event.

Weston Anderson, driving the truck Grave Digger, won the Racing event as well as the overall event on Friday. Elvis Lainez, the driver of El Toro Loco, and Tony Ochs, the driver of ThunderROARus, won the Skills Challenge and the Freestyle event, respectively.

Even with professional drivers, things don’t always go as planned. Some of the trucks hit a few speed bumps during the competition.

Stone Crusher had some mechanical problems, ThunderROARus and Monster Mutt Dalmatian both ended up flipped over and El Toro Loco tore up the front end of the truck.

Greg Duffy, a motocross driver, gave audiences advice after his winning run in the motocross event.

“You’re gonna fall down, always get back on the horse and give it another go,” Duffy said.

That is exactly what these drivers did. Even with these minor malfunctions, the trucks still came back out for the next event, even if they didn’t look exactly as they had at the beginning.

The trucks aren’t simply pieces of metal. Many of them have meaning and stories behind them. Brianna Mahon, the sole female driver on Friday, was the original driver of Whiplash and helped design the truck.

Whiplash is the only truck on the Monster Jam lineup that has only had female drivers to date. According to the Monster Jam website, Whiplash was designed to “inspire females to chase their dreams.”

The turquoise and western styled truck was designed specifically to leave the stereotypical pink in the past. There is also an entire brand dedicated to Whiplash that is targeted specifically towards women, something that had not been done before. Whiplash was not at the event on Friday, where Mahon drove Monster Mutt Dalmatian.

Mahon also talked about the Monster Jam community, saying that although they are fierce competitors on the track, off the track drivers function as “one big family.”

After winning the Skills Challenge, Lainez said, “I’m just gonna come out here and have fun.”

The drivers in Friday’s event did just that. With lots of amazing tricks and trucks, Monster Jam is an action packed event for audience members of all ages.


By Calee Lukowski