Monster Jam truck rallies combine racing, showmanship and stunt competitions for more than 350 performances per year.
These twisted-metal spectacles attract more than 4 million U.S. spectators annually. While nowhere near as big as, say, the NFL, this thoroughly American franchise is attracting a growing number of sponsors and fans: In 2014, Fox Sports 1 began airing Monster Jam events and has been increasing its monster truck menu ever since.
Created in 2003 by legendary driver Tom Meents, Max-D, aka Maximum Destruction, is the most-decorated monster truck, with a record 11 Monster Jam World Finals championships, as of 2016.
Max-D's front flip
In 2015, Meents made history by successfully landing the first front flip ever at a Monster Jam event in New Jersey. During the freestyle period, Max-D made a full rotation before landing and bouncing forward again.
The annual Monster Jam tour culminates every March with a world finals in Las Vegas.
Monster trucks such as Max-D usually pack about 1,500 horsepower, while standing 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.
According to Feld Entertainment—the company that runs the franchise—Monster Jam is the largest touring monster truck property in the world.
Speeds of 80 mph
Each Monster Jam rally features a race between the massive vehicles. These monster trucks, such as El Diablo, have the power to reach speeds of 80 mph.
Monster Jam’s Pit Party, like the one pictured above at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, is the pre-show event that gives spectators the chance to meet their favorite drivers.
Grave Digger—originally developed in 1982 as a mud bogger—will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2017. Arguably one of the most well-known monster trucks, Grave Digger stands out because of its vibrant paint scheme—featuring green flames—and the signature red headlights.
With massive horsepower and 66-inch tires, monster trucks can travel approximately 130 feet through the air. That means a vehicle such as Grave Digger can theoretically jump 14 cars lined up side by side.
Prior to the 2013 season, fans voted online for a new monster truck. The public chose Zombie, a massive vehicle of destruction with arms protruding from the side.
Grave Digger celebrates
After winning the racing and freestyle tournament at a Wichita Falls, Texas, Monster Jam event in 2016, Grave Digger driver Pablo Huffaker celebrates with a post-race victory interview in the middle of the track.
Named after its female driver, who goes by Madusa, this monster truck is adorned in pink with white writing. After joining Monster Jam in 1999, the so-called “Queen of Carnage” quickly became a fan favorite, winning the racing championship—the first for a woman—at the Monster Jam World Finals VI in 2005.
Tipping the scales at more than five tons, the Monster Mutt is one of four canine-themed trucks in Monster Jam. The truck, with its five-foot-long ears, is driven by Kevin Crocker, as of 2017.
Introduced at the Monster Jam World Finals 12 in 2011, Son-uva Digger is an extension of the Grave Digger family. This truck is driven by 2010 Rookie of the Year Ryan Anderson.
Monster trucks in San Diego
Here’s a photo of multiple trucks preparing to compete at a recent Monster Jam event at Petco Park in San Diego.
Zombie tries to stay alive
Here’s the Zombie monster truck as it tries to keep its balance on two wheels during a rally in Salt Lake City.
Monster Mutt Dalmatian
Driven by Candice Jolly and Cynthia Gauthier, the Monster Mutt Dalmatian was unveiled in 2007. The other two trucks in the family are the Monster Mutt Rottweiler and the Monster Mutt Junkyard Dog.
Monster Mutt Dalmatian driver Cynthia Gauthier
Cynthia Gauthier, one of the drivers of the Monster Mutt Dalmatian, poses in front of her massive truck at a Monster Jam season kickoff.
Monster trucks on display
Some of the most popular monster trucks are on display at Monster Jam’s Pit Party during a rally at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.
El Toro Loco
Debuting in 2001, the El Toro Loco won the co-freestyle championship at the Monster Jam World Finals V in 2004. The original vehicle—which is still crushing trucks today—features orange paint and horns mounted on the hood. In 2013, a yellow and black version of the vehicle was unveiled.
El Toro Loco’s demolition
During a recent Monster Jam event in Minneapolis, the yellow El Toro Loco truck dealt massive damage to these three cars.
El Toro Loco’s driver
Kayla Blood, one of the drivers of the El Toro Loco truck, signs an autograph for a fan during the pre-show Party in the Pits.
Monster Jam fans gather in Ohio
Here’s a large crowd packing into Eldora Speedway, also known as the Big E, in New Weston, Ohio, at a Monster Jam rally.
Rallies take a lot of prep work
According to Feld Entertainment, a typical Monster Jam event uses 7,500 tons of dirt and 100,000 square feet of plastic. To build and remove the track takes approximately 1,500 man-hours.
Monster trucks such as Razin Kane typically weigh in at about 10,000 pounds and cost more than $600,000 per year to build, tour, staff, repair and transport.
Here is the Xtermigator monster truck, which debuted in 2014, doing a wheelie at a Wichita Falls, Texas, Monster Jam rally in 2016. Vehicles like this are built for short, high-powered bursts of speed.
Fan favorite monster truck Blue Thunder appeared for the first time in 2001, making the Monster Jam World Finals II in its inaugural season. Vehicles like this can reach heights of 30 feet.
A monster party
Fans gather at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, for a Monster Jam competition in 2016.
Great Clips Mohawk Warrior
Famous for its jet black “hairstyle,” Mohawk Warrior was introduced in 2010. The vehicle earned its name from the original driver, George Balhan, who has a matching, albeit slightly shorter, haircut.
As of 2016, the truck is known as the Great Clips Mohawk Warrior.
Lucas Oil Crusader
Debuting in 2011 in Houston, Lucas Oil Crusader—driven by veteran wheelman Linsey Weenk—reached the semifinals at the Monster Jam World Finals XII in 2011. In the picture above, the monster truck attempts a backflip during the freestyle period in Minneapolis.