Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a monster truck driver? Well, I interviewed some monster truck drivers to help answer questions you may have.
Bob Chandler is considered the “godfather” of monster trucks. He is credited as being the inventor of monster trucks, with the first truck named Bigfoot created in 1975. Jim Kramer, who was one of Bigfoot’s early drivers, also co-founded Bigfoot. A lot has changed in the world of Monster Jam since then.
Today’s monster trucks have a five-point harness seatbelt, and the drivers wear a special device called HANS (head and neck support) to help make sure they are safe. Since monster trucks don’t have doors, the drivers must get into their trucks by climbing up underneath the body frame to get to their seat. Monster trucks weigh approximately 13,000 pounds and can go up to 100 MPH. Some trucks can cost more than others depending on if they have a more unique design, but on average they cost about $250,000. Monster trucks travel to the events by being loaded into a semi-truck. The tires must be removed first so it can all fit inside, but only two monster trucks can fit in each semi-truck.
Mark Hall is the driver of Raminator. He originally wanted to be a shop teacher when he grew up. His favorite drivers are Dennis Anderson (Grave Digger), Tom Meents (Max-D), and Andy Brass (Bigfoot). Kurt Kraehmer drives Rammunition, which is a partner truck to Raminator. It was Kraehmer’s childhood dream to drive a monster truck. He kept after it and succeeded. Kraehmer attended Monster Jam University. This special school helps new drivers sharpen their skills to do tricks and prepare for competitions.
El Toro Loco is driven by Elvis Lainez. He played a lot of sports as a kid and later he tried motor sports. He liked it so much he wanted to become a monster truck driver. In his opinion, the hardest trick for him to master is called “The Moonwalk.” This is when the truck balances on only the two front tires and then drives backwards. Earth Shaker is driven by Tristan England. He loves to hang out with fans at the Pit Parties. He told me, “The scariest part of driving the monster trucks is knowing it can be a 50/50 shot to do the tricks, but you just have to commit,” he says.
Bailey Shea has been driving Dalmation for just over two years. Shea has never been injured while driving a monster truck, but she has broken 26 bones while ATV racing before she became a monster truck driver. Her best friend, who is also a driver, is David Olfert. Olfert is the driver of Velociraptor. His truck design was made because there were no dinosaur-style trucks at the time. He has been in the racing final competitions 15 times and won nine times. Olfert not only manages his own truck, but also the Dalmation truck and sometimes he even helps the others as well if they need it.
Megalodon is driven by Brandon Arthur. He enjoyed going to Monster Jam shows as a kid. Grave Digger is now driven by Krysten Anderson. Her father is the original Grave Digger creator, and her brother also drives a monster truck called Son of a Digger. Both Arthur and Anderson think it is louder being in the truck than being in the audience, even though the drivers wear earplugs.
As a Monster Jam fan myself, the conversations I had with all these drivers really helped me understand what it’s like to be a monster truck driver. I hope you enjoyed these exclusive fun facts given directly from some of your favorite drivers. Maybe one day you might want to become a monster truck driver too. (Just remember to wear earplugs because those trucks are REALLY loud!)