Have you ever dreamed of driving a monster truck? The mammoth pickups that battle in arenas across the country have acquired a huge fanbase, and for many people getting behind the wheel of one of those trucks is at the top of their bucket list. 

What makes a monster truck a monster truck, and what does it take to drive one? Here is a peek at the insider’s world of driving monster trucks.

The Monster Truck Origin Story

Monster trucks originated in the 1970s when enthusiasts modified stock pickup trucks with big engines, oversized tires and modified suspension systems. They became famous as side acts in larger arena shows like tractor pulling and motocross, where they were used to crush cars in demonstrations. 

They have now become the main attraction at arena shows around the country. Coupled with motocross, ATV races or demolition derbies, they are a huge source of entertainment for thousands of people.

Monster Trucks Today

Today, monster trucks are barely related to the pickups you get at a truck rental agency. They are purpose-built vehicles constructed of tube-frame chassis and fiberglass bodies instead of metal. Competition monster trucks are typically 12 feet tall and equipped with 66-inch  off-road tires.

Engines are typically mounted behind the driver and are supercharged, running on a methanol-based fuel. Axles from heavy-duty military trucks or school buses are modified to help turn the tires. The front wheels are controlled by the steering wheel and the rear wheels are controlled with a toggle switch.

Keeping Drivers Safe

Monster trucks have many safety features. They have three shut-off switches: a remote ignition interrupt, a switch in the cab, and another at the rear of the truck so that electrical power may be shut off in the event of a rollover. Trucks have the driver sitting in the center of the cab for improved visibility. the cab is encased with polycarbonate as well, which both protects the drivers from flying debris and affords additional safety in the event of a crash or rollover.

Drivers are required to wear safety harnesses, helmets, firesuits, and head and neck restraints. High-pressure components have restraining straps in case of an explosion.

As a result of these safety precautions, there have been only a few accidents that have resulted in injuries or fatalities to anyone other than the driver. Drivers certainly suffer injuries, but fatal accidents have been few and far between.

Getting Behind the Wheel

If the extensive safety protections have not scared you and you are still interested in getting behind the wheel of a Monster Truck, your dreams can come true at Monster Jam University.

Monster Jam is currently offering Monster Jam University to help find and train new talent for the monster truck industry. Qualified applicants are invited to a three-day audition test at The University of Northwestern Ohio. While there you would meet and study with Tom Meents, a 12-time World Champion and head instructor.

The university offers physical training, media training, and proper nutrition classes to drivers and crew members. Students also master a safety-focused curriculum, including training on fitting into and operating a monster truck, in addition to a full day spent on safety procedures.

The university offers two-week classes that provide as much behind-the-wheel-time as participating in three years of driving events. Drivers have an opportunity to watch videos to analyze their driving skills and pinpoint correct and incorrect techniques. This allows drivers to improve their techniques and increase their ability to participate more safely in the sport. 

If you find you fall in love with the spot of monster trucks, the university also has a job placement program for graduates. Opportunities exist for crew members, drivers and show staff who excel during training and want to make monster trucks their career.

If you love monster truck shows, like Monster Jam and the Toughest Monster Truck Tour, and imagine yourself getting behind the wheel of one of these beheamoth machines yourself, your dreams can come true at the Monster Jam University.