Monster Jam From the Female Perspective

Published On January 26, 2013 | By Amy Gist

J.P. Ruggiero jumps El Diable at Qualcomm Stadium San Diego 19 January 2013. Photo Credit: Amy Gist

I remember two things about Monster Trucks from when I was a kid. No. 1, it was something my Dad took my big brother to and No. 2, it meant I got to stay home with mom and watch My Little Pony VHS tapes instead of Dad’s usual nightly ritual of watching Unsolved Mysteries – that music still creeps me out to this day, by the way.

Regardless, a few weeks ago I stumbled across an email at work informing me there was going to be a Monster Truck event at Qualcomm Stadium…which at first I wasn’t really psyched about. After thinking about it for a few days I decided it would be fun to go explore the world of Monster Truck racing and share it first hand with all of you.

So here we go, with a little help from the driver of El Diabo, J.P. Ruggiero– and Captain’s Curse, Alex  Blackwell, as well as my good friend Jes Wagner, I bring you Monster Trucks 101 for new fans!

J.P. started off by giving me the basic rundown of Monster Trucks and what new fans should be paying attention to during Monster Jam. “First and foremost for anyone who doesn’t follow it (Monster Trucks) it’s just an awesome thing to see giant trucks drive over cars and jump! People don’t normally see vehicles jumping so to watch a truck this size go 30 feet in the air is just amazing! You don’t have to be a motor head to enjoy it!”

To give you an idea of how huge these trucks are J.P. gave me the specs on El Diablo. “The truck is 10,000 pounds, the height of it is twelve feet, the width of it is twelve feet, the length is 20 feet, and the tires are 66 inches tall.”

66 inches tall?! I’m only 68 inches tall! Needless to say, I look pretty small next to these trucks! The size of the tires is what allows the trucks to jump as high as they can. J.P. is new to the Monster Truck circuit and is primarily an off-road driver who drives a Jeep CJ-7 but seems to be adjusting to his new role pretty well!

J.P. says, “Monster Jam Monster Truck series is a totally different experience.”

J.P.’s favorite part of Monster Jam is the freestyle section and after seeing it on Saturday night it’s mine as well. “It’s the section where you are allowed to do your own thing. It’s not like the races where you have a course to follow where you have to hit this jump or make that turn…you get to do your own thing. You are testing your own limits, testing the limits of the truck, and entertaining the crowd! The only thing you are trying to NOT do is roll over your truck.”

24 hours later, following a HUGE jump during the freestyle event, J.P. and his truck El Diablo suffered the one fate he mentioned…a roll over! Don’t worry though; the truck is equipped with a five point harness and a seat that stabilizes the entire body. Drivers also wear flame resistant suits and helmets while they drive. J.P. emerged hands in the air and excited as a packed Qualcomm Stadium cheered for his massive display!

J.P. let me climb up into El Diablo to check out all of the safety features and neat gauges! Being inside that beast of a truck was a super unique and very cool experience! I felt like I could drive over the entire world and not feel a single bump! Following that experience I walked over to meet Alex Blackwell and check out his truck, Captain’s Curse.

Says Alex of Monster Jam, “Back in the day it was a man’s sport but now we have female drivers: Medusa drives the Medusa truck, Candace Jolly drives Dalmation, Nicole Johnson drives Scooby Doo, so it’s no longer just little boys and their dad’s it’s little girls and their mom’s too! Just come out if you’ve never gone! Just give us a shot and you’ll come back I promise you!”

I can promise you that he is right! My friend Jes and I wandered the Pit Party event prior to Monster Jam where you could take a ride in the back of a Monster Truck, get autographs from all of the drivers, see Tyrannosaurus Rex eat some cars and blow fire out of its nose, and watch BMX bikers and bands perform! Overall it was a super fun event leading up to the actual Monster Jam.

We headed into the stadium and watched as there was Quad racing (USA vs. Mexico) and modified truck racing mixed in with fast races and high jumps from the Monster Trucks!

Jes and I did decide on a few things you must take with you to the event I’m going to share with you now! Firstly, hearing protection is key, especially if you have little ones make sure you cover up those ears! This event is loud and a simple set of foam plugs can go a long way!

Second, if you go in January…even in San Diego…grab a jacket! It was super warm during the day but as the night kicked in over the open stadium we were pretty much freezing! If you want to avoid becoming a popsicle I suggest layers!

Third, this event can run a bit long so be forewarned that young kids will probably have an issue getting through the whole event. We saw some kids who had been to the Pit Party and the Event who were definitely more interested in going home instead of seeing trucks jump by the time we got halfway through the night.

Fourth, if you like to tailgate this is a perfect time to do it! Jes and I spoke with two young moms Patty and Holly who said that while they were really there for their husbands and kids there were some fun parts! They love tailgaiting with their familes and friends and Holly even enjoyed the end of the event where the Monster Trucks run over cars! The three things they say you need for a successful tailgate party before Monster Jam? “Beer, Food, and Friends!” We saw all of the above and a massive game of beer pong!

And last but certainly not least, go with a good attitude, an open mind, and know that even two of the most girly girls on the planet (me and Jes) gasped as trucks narrowly avoided huge crashes and we really got into it by the end. As long as you go knowing it’s going to be loud, a little dirty, but a whole lot of fun, you’ll be sure to enjoy the experience!


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About The Author

Amy Gist is a freelance sports writer and native of Cloquet, MN. An active duty member of the United States Navy for the past nine years, she has pursued sports journalism in her off time; writing for Fansided Network, Gongshow Gear Hockey, and The Goalie Guild among others. Amy can be followed on twitter @AmySnow17!