Monster Jam is a monster truck competition that travels the globe to put on action-packed shows. Drivers are professionally trained and most even attend Monster Jam University where they learn everything there is to know about monster trucks and competing with them.
Monster Jam will stop by Colonial Life Arena for three shows April 5-6.
When Scooby-Doo driver Linsey Read was a child and teenager, she loved going to the Monster Jam shows when they visited her hometown of El Paso, Texas. She also loved taking her personal vehicle out on the track after the show.
“A bunch of locals used to take their street legal trucks and race them on the same track as the Monster Jam trucks. I did that two years in a row and did really well,” she said. “After the second time, I was approached about joining the Monster Jam family.”
Read has been living this dream ever since. She took time to talk with us about her career as a monster truck driver, traveling the world, and her experience with Monster Jam.
Q. As a kid going to Monster Jam, who were some of your favorite drivers?
A. I would have to say for sure Candice Jolly Monster Mutt Dalmatian. She was the one that I really started watching thinking it was so cool that she was a female in the industry. And then of course, I have to go for all the Andersons. They’re amazing drivers. They’re so good at what they do. I used to also watch Lee O’Donnell a lot growing up. He was an inspiration to me. He was one of the first drivers I actually got to talk to and got me into the industry. There are so many amazing drivers though.
Q. What is Monster Jam University like?
A. It’s in Paxton, Ill., and you get to go there and train. They teach everything, from how to get into a truck to how to start the truck to how the truck works in general. Then, they teach you how to race, how to do donuts and the two-wheel skill competition, and, of course, the free-style. It is a really good opportunity for us to be able to go and hone our skills before we go out and do a show in front of 60,000 people.
Q. What’s your favorite stunt?
A. I think everyone has their little thing that they can do better than somebody else. Mine is big sky wheelies. I love to do them for the two-wheel skill competition. In an arena it’s very tight and we can’t go as far, so I want to get the height. I know when I hit those jumps as hard as I can I’m getting as high up as I can. I think it’s really cool to see the look on everybody’s face when I get that high in the air.
Q. What is your favorite part about your job with Monster Jam?
A. I don’t think I can choose just one thing. I love the driving part of it, but I also love getting to meet all the people that come to be a part of it especially when we have pit parties. It’s so awesome to see all the little kids that come out, and they make me a homemade poster or some of them even make me bracelets or other really cool things. My family travels with me to every single show. To be able to take my family and be a part of the whole Monster Jam family of drivers and the crew members, it’s such a cool experience.
Q. What’s it like working in an industry that’s very much male-dominated?
A. At first I was super intimidated and thought they might pick on me or not be as friendly, but I was wrong about that. Everyone is so nice and it’s like a big family. My first teammate Randy Brown, who drives the Grave Digger, was so awesome. He would support me 100 percent whether it was showing me how to do something or just giving me pointers. It’s all great when our helmets are off, but when we get our helmets on it’s not so friendly anymore — then it is truly a competition.
Q. When you are not driving a monster truck, what do you like to do?
A. My family is big on anything adventure. We like going camping, fishing, pretty much anything outdoors. That’s the big thing to do and just spending time with my family. For the few times that we do get to be home on the weekends, seeing my family is the big thing for me to do. It’s all about just having fun and living life to the fullest.
Q. What is it like when you get in a regular car and you have to drive?
A. I get that question a lot, and I always tell people I take all my aggression out on my Monster Jam truck. I go out and tear up the track in that so that way when I get back in my everyday vehicle, I’m just a normal driver.
If you go
When: 7 p.m. April 5; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 6
Where: Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln St.
Tickets: $15-$50. www.coloniallifearena.com.
Notable: There will even be a Pit Party on April 6 where fans can meet their favorite drivers.