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​Sky Wheelies, Ridin’ The Wave, Pogos and Burn Outs! AKA Our First Ever Monster Jam Truck Show!

By Pam Pollock

March, 2019

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Back in the late fall, I maybe, kind of, sorta got my not-quite-2-years-old grandson hooked on monster trucks. I don’t even know how that happened, but it did. Soon we were watching Blaze and the Monster Machines DVDs and perusing the toy aisles for monster trucks. He was ecstatic to receive a very large Grave Digger truck for Christmas. My husband and I surprised him on his 2nd birthday in January with tickets to go to the Monster Jam Truck Show in February in Pittsburgh. His oldest sister declared that there was no way that she was attending the show, but his other older sister excitedly said that she would be attending. (His baby sister was too little to go.)

The show was 6 days ago. We all donned our Monster Jam shirts and gathered our Pit Passes and made the hour-long trek down to the ‘Burgh. We were novices and it showed. We didn’t get the autograph book, nor did we have an assortment of colored sharpie pens in our backpack. We did, however, pony up the exorbitant fee for the snowcones in the collector Grave Digger cups. We plowed through the piles of dirt and oohed and ahhhed at the trucks, which did indeed have monstrous sized tires. We stood in some lines and met drivers; Kayla Blood, the driver of the Soldier Fortune truck was extremely friendly and nice and very kind to the kids. Althea was sporting what can only be described as a diva outfit complete with a Piggie hat and a pink and white fur jacket and glitter sneakers. Drivers and fans alike complimented her on her attire!

Declan was overcome with excitement when we got to our seats and the show began. His favorite truck was “Zombie.” He yelled and shook his fists whenever Zombie would make its run up the ramp and its zombie arms would wave and bounce. 

Althea picked “Grave Digger” as her favorite. She would shyly wave and whisper, “Hiiiiii” as Grave Digger roared around the track. 

Gaga (me) had two favorite trucks – I liked El Toro Loco, the truck who resembled a bull. I loved how it would snort and steam would come out of its “nostrils”. I also liked Soldier Fortune. Kayla Blood is a phenomenal driver. She tackled that track with gusto and was such a fierce competitor. I don’t know who Pap’s favorite truck/driver was because it was so loud and noisy that I could not hear him, and he was only siting two seats away from me!

I will confess that I really did not know what a Monster Jam Truck Show was supposed to entail. I thought there would be lots of races and slamming into each other. That didn’t happen and I was a little bummed out. The track at the PPG Paints Arena was smaller than some of the other venues, so we didn’t see the big jumps and car crushing that other shows have. A couple of the trucks did roll over during our show. Was it wrong of me to cheer for that?

My favorite part of the show was the Freestyle Performance where the drivers took the trucks through a series of tricks. It was unreal to watch the drivers maneuver and tilt their trucks up until the entire truck was standing up on its front bumper/hood!

There’s a whole other language for Monster Jam Truck aficionados, here’s some terms that I never knew existed until now.

Auger In – When a truck crashes nose first, also called a “nose plant”

Bite – Traction from the tires

Blower – This forces air and fuel into the engine to create more power

Burn Out – Clearing mud by spinning the tires

Case It – When the peak of the obstacle hits the lowest part of the truck frame

Cut Tires – Process (completed by hand) of shaving off tire thread for traction

Cyclone – A donut at high-speed

Dry Hop – Clearing the starting line of loose debris by doing a burnout

Endo – A crash where the vehicle rolls end-over-end

Four Link – Adjustable suspension of a monster truck

Hammer – The throttle

Headers – Pipes for free-exhaust flow

Hole Shot – The first truck off the starting line

Hook Up – Accelerating quickly to getting traction

Hooking Clay – Track dirt that helps with traction\

Nitrogen-Charged Shocks – Shock absorbers filled with nitrogen

Pogo – When a truck bounces on rear tires while doing a wheelie

Power Out – Using acceleration to keep from rolling over

Riding the Wave – Bouncing on the front tires

Roll Cage – Steel safety structure surrounding the driver

Sky Wheelie – A truck standing straight up with tires in air at a 90-degree angle

Slap Wheelie – Front of the truck comes down from a wheelie and then goes back up

Teeter – Front tires are in the air while rear tires rock from side to side

Walk It – Single-tire wheelie involving hopping back and forth between the rear tires

Wheelie – When front wheels are up in the air and the truck is driving on its rear tires

You’ll have to excuse me now, I have to get my El Toro Loco truck (yes, I now have my very own toy monster jam truck!) ready to hole shot onto the track. I plan on doing lots of cyclones and I hope I don’t auger in or endo. I want to ride the wave while teetering and pogoing. I might even do some sky and slap wheelies!

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