Boasting tons of horsepower, an air of unpredictability and absolute destruction, Monster Jam® is an event like no other. There’s just something about watching a truck that measures twice your height, launch through the air and not crash or break into pieces once it hits the ground that we just can’t seem to get enough of. It’s truly a spectacle.
But Monster Jam is not only visually exciting, the sound of unadulterated horsepower along with the roaring crowd, resonates through the stadium and has adults and children alike on the edge of their seats and even jumping out of them at times. The thrills that come from attending Monster Jam can’t be ignored and have had families coming back for more ever since its inception. If you’ve never been to Monster Jam or don’t know much about it, we’re about to give you the low-down.
Believe it or not, Monster Jam originated from the sideshow attractions at tractor-pulling events in the U.S., where “monster trucks” would amaze spectators by slowly driving over and crushing old cars. Fast forward a few decades and it’s now a global phenomenon with 350 performances in 135 cities and more than 4 million people attending each year.
It wasn’t until 2004 that Monster Jam actually expanded outside of the U.S., and as of today, there are 40 different international cities ranging from San Jose to Costa Rica, Milan, Italy to Abu Dhabi, UAE, that are part of the international tour. Sydney debuted its first Monster Jam just two years ago and last year drew over 55,000 fans. That’s 18,000 more people than the Monster Jam World Finals sees in Las Vegas each year.
It’s clear that Monster Jam’s mass appeal extends across all cultures, but no matter where you’re from, the stars of Monster Jam are undoubtedly the monster trucks themselves.
Evolving from steel-bodied, mud-bogging, car-crushing lifted trucks, the monster trucks of today have come a long way. They now have one-off fiberglass bodies, custom-built engines with forced induction and methanol injection packing upwards of 1,500 horsepower. They’re equipped with 66” tall, 43” wide custom tires backed by specially designed oil and nitrogen-filled gas shocks and on a yearly basis, can tally up a $600,000 bill when you include building, maintaining and touring one of these beasts. And with multiple identical versions of each (Grave Digger has at least 9) circulating around the globe at any given moment, the cost for the entire Monster Jam fleet sits comfortably in the tens of millions of dollars.
There’s one thing that sets Monster Jam apart from all other events- the unprecedented access it gives to the fans. From the pre-show to the post-show, fans have the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite monster trucks and drivers. At the pre-show “Party in the Pits,” fans are allowed on-track to meet drivers, get autographs, see the trucks up close and even wander the track to explore all of it’ obstacles. During the post-show autograph session, drivers literally stay until the very last autograph is signed, making sure that not one fan leaves empty handed. It’s truly the ultimate fan experience.
Monster Jam’s dedication to its fans is unparalleled and these unique opportunities coupled with jaw-dropping moments throughout the event, are two major reasons why its fans are among the most loyal in motorsports. Their loyalty runs so deep in fact, that Monster Jam has sold more than 135 million Mattel Hot Wheels Monster Jam replica trucks and over $1 billion in merchandise to date. That includes official apparel, accessories, back to school supplies, bedding and bath, party goods, greeting cards, and various toys. Ultimately, Monster Jam wouldn’t be the global empire it is today without their fans. Its these loyal fans and their love for all things monster trucks that make up the culture surrounding Monster Jam. It’s become a tradition for many, and year after year friends and families come together for the event, buying out sections and rows of seats and even throwing tailgate parties in the parking lot beforehand.
Like any typical tailgate party, there are BBQ’s grilling burgers and hot dogs, beverages being poured, kids running around, music blaring and happy faces get amped up and ready for the show. But rather than throwing around a football, they’re playing with RC cars and trucks, putting on their own show for everyone around to enjoy.
Cherished by all of those who attend, Monster Jam is an event that everyone should experience at least once in their life. Monster truck fan or not, the action and destruction that ensues will put a smile on your face and leave you wanting more.
For upcoming Monster Jam events, please visit www.monsterjam.com/events
Text and photos by Keleen Hitzel