Monster Trucks, massive engines, and big attitude are all part of the show.
Monster Jam takes to the road starting with first stop Tacoma, WA, Friday, January 4th for several events throughout the weekend. It’s a massive undertaking with tons of dirt being hauled into the dome to create an environment where huge, customized trucks will compete and perform before fans. For those who might not know a lot about the event I recently spoke with Travis Groth, a local guy from Gig Harbor, who’s part of the Double Trouble Racing Team and drives The Captain USA Truck.
Allie Hanley: How long have you been involved in the Monster Jam Truck Show?”
Travis Groth: I’ve been crewing for about 4 years and driving Captain USA for almost two years now.
AH: What are the events that you compete and perform in at a Monster Truck Event?
TG: In Tacoma, we do racing with ten or twelve trucks. We’ll do some racing with single elimination; Then we’ll do a free style event, which is all sixteen trucks for ninety seconds each. What that is, is the trucks going around obstacles that they have set up and kinda doing their own thing. Probably the main draw, <the freestyle event> for the fans.
AH: What are some of the other events or attractions at the show?
TG: They will be bringing in this dinosaur thing that breathes fire called Robosauraus. They also sometimes do a demolition derby and jeep races. The Dinosaur is a big draw, it looks like a dragon with flames shooting out of it. < Robosaurus is the worlds largest Transfomer and weighs 31 tons. See video at bottom>
AH: When you were a kid what was your favorite event that motivated you to become a Monster Truck Driver?
TG: It was probably at one of the local events like the one at Tacoma Dome except when I was a kid we went to the Kingdome. As a kid I liked The Grave Digger, which is one of the Monster Jam main trucks.
AH: I saw the other day at the store that they had some little toy Monster Trucks painted like many of them at The Monster Jam Show.
TG: Yes, as a driver, my brother Â and I collect those. Actually a lot of the Monster Truck Drivers collect those and go around and get each other to autograph them. Its a fun collection.Â <His brother Tyler, is also a driver.>
AH: So the event kicks off in your home town region. What’s that like?
TG: Well we try to do a lot of local media stuff and also get the family and friends to come out. I think last year we had about fifty people come for the Saturday night show. We think a lot more will show up this year for myself and my identical twin brother who drives too. I think people like to try to figure out which one is which. They know if I am standing in front of my truck it’s probably me, and if he’s standing in front of Double Trouble it’s probably him.
AH: You mentioned the Freestyle event as one of the most popular events during the show. Can you tell me what goes into some of those tricks you perform with the truck?
TG: The two most common are the doughnuts and the cyclone, when you turn left or right and put your foot to the floor. Hopefully you start spinning round and don’t roll over. Those are always fun.
Then there’s a flap-wheelie, which is where you go over a jump, and as soon as you hit the ground you put your foot on the gas and get the nose to stand up. It’s kind of like riding a wheelie all the way across the track. Those are fun to do and they are a lot harder than some things.
AH: What’s the scariest trick you perform?
TG: Probably the big-air stuff. You don’t know when you are going to land, you don’t know how it’s going to land, trying to correct if you land funny and trying to avoid a roll-over is always a challenge. They probably happen more than they should <roll-over>.
AH: So where do you operate from?
TG: Our shop is actually in Cle Elum (WA) where we are based locally. This year we ran 30 weekends and 70+ shows, so there’s not a whole lot of weekends at home but we do swing through there to visit family when we can.
AH: What will be the highlight this weekend?
TG: There’s going to be sixteen trucks which is the most ever for a show like this. There will be a lot of high profile drivers that competed from the World Finals in Vegas. I don’t think there will be another show with this many high ranking drivers. Should be a pretty good show!
Tickets are available for purchase at the Tacoma Dome box office, online at Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone atÂ 800-745-3000.
Travis races the Captain USA truck for the team Double Image which includes his twin brother Tyle Groth (driver of Double Trouble). The cost to operate a truck like this runs over $100,000 a year and wouldn’t be possible without the support of their sponsors likeÂ Tire Factory Racing,Â Blackbirds Custom Trucks,Â Warn Winches,Â King Engine BearingÂ www.KingBearings.com,Â ISKY,Â Axle Transmission of Tacoma,Â Energy Suspension,Â AB Transmission,Â Deka Batteries,Â Powermaster,Â Ouverson USA,Â Flaming River,Â Energy Release