Monster trucks – the forgotten motor sport

corey garriott

Once again, Las Vegas and spring break provided the perfect high.

And no, I’m not talking about the Willie Nelson recreational endeavor.

I’m talking about the kind of high you can only get from jumping over a 7-foot tall concrete block pond with a monster truck. Oh yeah, there was an ice cream truck parked in the middle of it too – making for about three-stories of height.

Saturday, March 24, saw the Monster Jam World Finals return to Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, and it was more destructive than ever.

While I still have manic glee written all over my face, I’m left to lament on how the greatest motor sport of all is also one of the least known.

For example, as an encore at the end of the night, five monster trucks (all Grave Diggers) came out and freestyled at once. For those who don’t know, freestyle is when the trucks go out into the stadium and can do whatever they want. By the end of the encore, all five trucks drivers had trashed their trucks and flipped them over.

It was a gloriously beautiful sight.

They were easily catching two-stories worth of air leaping over oil tankers, bus pyramids, box truck obstacles and a ridiculously big dirt jump in the middle of the stadium.

And it wasn’t just the encore that was filled with that, the whole night was.

Throughout the night, trucks cartwheeled, flipped and pirouetted gracefully through the air – and crashed in piles of broken fiber glass and twisted smoking steel amid thunderous roars from the crowd of 40,000 of the luckiest people in the world.

One of the more memorable moments (that I can actually describe to non-monster truck viewers) came from Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction. He leapt off the huge jump in the middle of the stadium, and I speak the truth – he had to have shown up on the nearby airport’s radar. If that jump had been at the end of the track instead of the beginning, I bet he could have literally jumped out of the stadium (it’s an outdoor stadium).

However, the glory that is monster trucking is unknown to many people. The tickets are among the most affordable in sports with $20 ($45 at the World Finals) usually getting you prime seats. It’s marketed towards families, and the drivers sign autographs before shows and stay after shows until everyone who wants an autograph gets one. Naturally, the best shows are in the biggest stadiums (like the Edward Jones dome in St. Louis), but smaller shows are still worth a gander.

These trucks weigh five tons with 66-inch tall tires and have upwards of 2,000 horsepower. The speed is fast, air huge and carnage real.

Lucky for everyone, CBS will be airing a Monster Jam special that includes highlights from the Monster Jam World Finals at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 15, and Speed channel will air the World Finals at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 12.

Do yourself a favor and take in a monster jam show on TV or better yet, in person.

It may not be the best thing you ever do, wait, yes it will be.