What event is exciting enough to satisfy your inner adrenaline junky but fun and suitable for the whole family? Monster Jam, of course. This thrilling motor sports show features world-class drivers and colossal trucks competing against each other and performing incredible feats. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Monster Jam so you can get the most out of the experience.
What Is Monster Jam?
Monster Jam is a series of events launched in 1992 to showcase monster truck racing and competition. The tour packs stadiums and arenas throughout North America, culminating with the Monster Jam World Finals in Orlando, Florida, each year. Monster Jam is designed to be both entertaining and competitive, with drivers competing in various events to win the night. These include:
- Racing. During the initial race portion of the competition, the trucks race tournament-style against each other over a predetermined course, with the winner of each round advancing until only two trucks remain. The final race determines the overall racing champion.
- Skills. The skills challenge gives the drivers several chances to perform stunts on two wheels. The crowd votes on their favorite two-wheel performance, with the highest-scoring driver winning that event.
- Donut. In the popular donut competition, drivers spin their trucks on a flat surface as many times and as fast as they can. The driver receiving the highest score wins.
- Freestyle. Freestyle competitors get one-and-a-half to two minutes on the arena floor to perform a set of tricks and stunts. They drive over obstacles such as ramps and cars and do whatever it takes to showcase their strongest skills. The audience votes to determine the winner.
Monster Jam attendees can also enjoy other entertaining acts between the main events, including speedster racing, speedster obstacle courses, and ATV racing. The event is unique in that the fans themselves get to score and vote on competitions such as the Skills Challenge, Donut Competition, and Freestyle through the online “Judges Zone.” They can also see the Monster Trucks up close and interact with the drivers at the Pit Party.
Is the Event Safe?
Monster Jam takes exceptional steps to ensure its events are incredibly safe for drivers and attendees alike. Drivers spend months to years training under experienced specialists to learn how to operate the trucks, develop their skills, and understand safety precautions. They drive wearing safety gear, such as fire-resistant driving suits, gloves, shoes, and helmets, and have other protective mechanisms, including a head and neck restraint system and steering wheel control grips.
The technicians that keep the trucks in top shape are also integral to their performance and safety. Most have completed automotive programs and have training in specialties such as engine maintenance or welding.
The Monster Jam trucks themselves are built with a roll cage around the driver, who sits in a custom seat fitted to their body. They’re secured in place by a five-point harness. If anything goes wrong with the truck’s engine, a special radio transmits a signal to shut it off. The rear of the truck features a secondary off-switch as an additional safety measure.
Fans can rest assured they’re safe from any flying trucks and debris, thanks to the safety hold track designers have in place around the arena floor. No spectators are allowed in this area. Each venue also has its own evacuation plans and security measures.
How To Prepare for Monster Jam
To get the most out of your Monster Jam experience, make sure you know what to expect, wear, and bring to the event. Use these tips to prepare ahead of time:
Watch Monster Truck Videos
The best way to know what to expect before going to a Monster Jam show is to watch videos online. They can give you an idea of the loud noise, fun atmosphere, and incredible tricks you’ll see in person. Videos can also help get the kids or other family members excited about the show they’re about to see.
Research the Trucks and Drivers
Go online to learn about the Monster Jam trucks and drivers you’ll be seeing at your show. You can pick favorites you want to cheer for or meet at the Pit Party before you arrive. Having a few favorites to root for can make the experience that much more exciting.
Each driver bio tells you about that individual’s role models, interests, and hobbies, as well as their career accomplishments and what life on the road with Monster Jam is like. The truck bios tell you about the history of each Monster Jam vehicle and often include photos and videos of their performance highlights. Kids might enjoy choosing their favorite trucks based on the names and appearances alone. Popular trucks include Alien Invasion, Avenger, El Toro Loco, and Grave Digger.
Wear an outfit to Monster Jam that you can be comfortable sitting and walking around in for hours and that you also don’t mind getting dirty. The massive trucks can kick up a lot of dust and dirt during their performances. Chances are good some will end up on your clothing as well. Also, wear practical shoes that are comfortable for walking around.
Bring a Jacket
Most Monster Jam shows are indoors at sports stadiums. The event organizers keep the air inside very cold to prevent the massive truck engines from overheating the arena during races and competitions. Prepare for the cold temperatures by bringing a jacket you can take on and off easily.
Leave the Camera at Home
Monster Jam events don’t let you bring long lens cameras into the show. There are, however, plenty of great photo ops throughout the show, as well as at the Pit Party. Have your smartphone camera or simple point-and-shoot at the ready, and leave the fancy camera behind.
Monster Jam hosts a pre-event that’s both fun and informative. It includes interviews with drivers, event updates, and basic information about Monster Jam. Grab your Monster Jam tickets, and get to the event early so you don’t miss out.
Monster Jam trucks can be very loud. Bring ear muffs, headphones, or a few sets of foam earplugs, and stash them in your purse or pocket. If the noise gets to be too much for you or the kids, you’ll have them on hand. If you forget to bring your own ear protection, you can buy a set from the concessions on-site.
If you have sensitive eyes, you might also consider bringing eyedrops. The gas fumes and dirt in the air can cause your eyes to dry out and water. This can be especially helpful if you wear contacts.
Get Tickets to the Pit Party
Monster Jam’s Pit Party is a family-friendly pre-event party you don’t want to miss. It’s a super fun way to meet drivers, see the trucks up close, get autographs and photos, and participate in other fun activities. The party usually takes place on the arena floor and lasts a couple of hours. Try to get there early so you don’t feel rushed or miss meeting your favorite trucks and drivers.
You must buy a Pit Party ticket in addition to your Monster Jam tickets, so plan accordingly and double-check party times and details for your specific show. Some local businesses, such as car dealerships, however, give them out for free. If you want to maximize your time at the Pit Party, many Monster Jam events also sell Pit Party Early Access tickets that let you enter an hour earlier than standard admission fans. This perk gives you priority access and more time to meet the drivers and see the trucks.
Get Tickets to the Winner’s Circle
If you can’t make it to the Pit Party or want to meet the winning drivers after the event, you can buy tickets to the private Winner’s Circle Meet & Greet. Tickets are limited to this exclusive event, but it allows you to mingle with the drivers right after the show, take photos, get autographs, hear event commentary from the drivers themselves, and take home a souvenir checkered flag. You can find tickets on your specific event’s page.
Check Out the Judge Zone
The Judges Zone is the website you can use to vote on driver performances during the show. Familiarize yourself with the Judges Zone site and its features before you go. You might also try logging in with your smartphone so you know how to access it on your device mid-show. Judging is easy if you follow these steps:
- Navigate to JudgesZone.com on your smartphone or other device, ensuring the privacy setting is turned off.
- The event host will give you a three-digit code specific to the Monster Jam show you’re attending. Enter it to begin.
- After you enter the code, a screen with a BKT tire graphic will appear. Move the tire up or down to select a higher or lower score.
- Once you decide on your score, hit the “Submit” button. You must decide on your score within 20 seconds for it to count.
- Scores get tabulated immediately. The driver’s average score, based on fan opinions, will show up on the display before the next driver enters the arena.
- The driver with the highest average score wins that competition.
Know the Lingo
Review these common Monster Jam terms and tricks before you go:
- Backflip: A Monster Jam truck does a 360-degree flip off a vertical obstacle.
- Big air: The trucks can get significant air time during their stunts. Big air jumps can get up to 30 feet in the air and cover more than 130 feet of ground.
- Bite: This is the tires’ traction on the surface.
- Burnout: Drivers will perform this spinning maneuver to remove dirt and mud from the tires to improve traction.
- Case it: The lowest part of the truck frame hits the top of an obstacle.
- Cut tires: Technicians might perform this time-consuming technique to remove tread from the tires to improve traction and reduce weight.
- Donut: The truck spins in circles in one spot quickly.
- Dry hop: Drivers perform this version of a burnout at the starting line to clear it of debris.
- Cyclone: A cyclone is a donut performed at extremely high speed.
- Endo: This happens when the Monster Jam truck rolls end over end.
- Eyeball the track: Drivers and their crews walk the track to create a plan for their runs and stunts.
- Hammer: Another name for the truck’s throttle.
- Holeshot: This is the first vehicle to launch off the starting line, giving it a competitive advantage.
- Hook up: Drivers perform this technique to get traction for faster acceleration.
- Hot shoe: A nickname for a top driver.
- Mash the throttle: Drivers do this when they step on the accelerator really hard.
- Pogo: Before going up into a wheelie, the truck bounces on its rear tires like a pogo stick.
- Power out: A driver might use a “power out,” or a quick acceleration to avoid a rollover.
- Red light: When trucks leave the starting line before the light turns green and gets disqualified.
- Sky wheelie: The truck stands up on its rear tires at a 90-degree angle, keeping the front tires in the air.
- Slap wheelie: The front end of the Monster Jam truck lands, slapping the vehicle into another wheelie.
- Staged: This is when the event is ready to begin.
- Stoppie: The truck balances on its front wheels, with the rear wheels in the air, sometimes moving into reverse and “moonwalking.”
- Walk it: This is a wheelie on one wheel where the driver rocks back and forth between the rear tires.
- Wheelie: The driver elevates the truck’s front wheels off the ground, driving on the rear wheels only.
If you’re well-prepared and in the know prior to the show, you can spend more time enjoying the Monster Jam tricks and cheering on the drivers. You’ll also be more comfortable and less distracted.
Tips for Attending Monster Jam
Once you’re at a Monster Jam event, here are some tips that will maximize your family’s fun:
- Tailgate. Tailgating is welcome in designated areas before the big show. Check out the Pit Party, then enjoy food, drinks, music, and perhaps a game of parking lot football before the live event. Pack a small grill and plenty of snacks to make an afternoon of it.
- Find your seats early. Try to get to your Monster Jam seats about 30 minutes before the event starts. This should give you plenty of time to find your seats, use the restroom, and stock up on food or drinks before the fun gets going. Arriving early also ensures you don’t miss out on the pre-event festivities.
- Be loud. Don’t be afraid to yell and cheer for your favorite trucks and drivers during their races or after their incredible stunts.
- Pack everything in a clear bag. Starting in 2018, Monster Jam has limited purses allowed in stadiums to clear bags. Buy a clear plastic handbag if you don’t already have one, and make sure everything you need to bring fits in it.
- Eat beforehand. Because you can’t bring outside food or drinks into Monster Jam events, make sure you eat before the show (unless you’re cooking out at a tailgate). You can always purchase food once you get inside the stadium, as well.
- Buy a souvenir. Monster Jam has tons of creative souvenirs you can buy to remember your family’s day of fun. Don’t forget to buy a hat, blanket, or miniature truck for yourself or the kids.
You might also familiarize yourself with the stadium hosting the event so you know where to find the nearest restrooms and concessions. You don’t want to be wandering the arena halls while your favorite driver is on the floor.
Test your Monster Jam knowledge and impress your friends and family with these interesting facts:
- The average size of a Monster Jam truck is 10.5 feet tall, 17 feet long, and 12.5 feet wide.
- The trucks weigh an average of 12,000 pounds.
- Monster Jam trucks are custom-made from fiberglass.
- Drivers sit in safe steel compartments built onto the truck’s frame.
- Monster Jam truck engines — which are equipped with powerful superchargers and run on methanol fuel — can produce a whopping 1,500 horsepower.
- The truck’s nitrogen-charged shocks give its four-link racing suspension 30 inches of travel.
- Monster Jam trucks run on 43-inch-wide, 66-inch-diameter BKT tires inflated to 23 psi. Each wheel and tire weighs about 645 pounds.
- Custom trailers large enough to fit two trucks and their spare parts transport each truck from event to event.
Now that you’re well-prepared for this exciting event, get your Monster Jam tickets to a series stop at a city near you. You truly have to experience Monster Jam in person to appreciate the sport, excitement, and display of skill.