The deep gutted roars of engines echoing through the arena as fans seated side by side anxiously awaited their favorite vehicles to pierce the rubber burnt air was my introduction to Monster Jam! I was a newbie and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, other than ginormous trucks smashing into cars. My first experience as a guest at Monster Jam Triple Threat, did not disappoint, here's why.
Growing up in Tampa, I'd seen the commercials on TV, but I was a Monster Jam Newbie until this past weekend. Excitedly I googled and searched online trying to learn a little about what I was about to experience. This year Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, EarthShaker, Scooby Doo, Blue Thunder, Max-D, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Zombie headlined the event. From what I could see it looked like a lot of destruction to me. I could not have been more wrong.
Viewing advertisements for the event, I wondered why this is THE most attended event at Raymond James Stadium? Now I know, what I experienced at Amalie Arena Saturday night was more than just watching Monster Trucks smash into things, it was a showcase of a driver’s skill in controlling those trucks, ATVs, and speedsters and much more. I witnessed unyielding tenacity as challenges were met and a distinct camaraderie in the audience.
I did not expect an interactive experience! The scoring system for the challenges is based on audience participation. Fans score their favorites using their mobile devices. Saturday night at Amalie the historically popular trucks scored nicely, but the entertainment factor and mastery of the challenge criteria boosted the score of the drivers.
One of the most exciting things I now enjoy as a Monster Jam fan is the ability of a Monster truck to do things you wouldn’t expect them to do. Imagine seeing a 10,000-pound truck speed by at 1,500 horse power and fly 10 feet into the air propping itself upwards on its back wheels!
This Monster Jam newbie enjoyed every last bit of the experience. Other events showcased ATVs and speedsters as drivers faced off. Scoring here was based on the ability and skill of the driver as they raced to the finish line. I found myself yelling from the stands for the team I wanted to win! I was quickly becoming a fan.
I also did not know how deeply rooted fandom runs in the world of monster truck racing. For instance, the “Zombie” truck had members of the audience limply flapping their arms about like a zombie to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The kid in me and all the little ones in the audience around me loved the experience.
Monster Jam is a family friendly event; I enjoyed seeing the kids, their excitement, and level of involvement with the drivers and trucks. The upbeat chanting, the thunderous roar of the crowd when a truck flipped over, and the seat gripping nature of the timed races set the tone for pure fun.
Through two-wheeled skills challenges, ATV races, a donut competition, a speedster obstacle bracket, and a freestyle competition, each of the drivers demonstrated upbeat, positive attitudes win or lose, these are valuable lessons for kids these days. The speeches from the athlete drivers were encouraging as many thanked the audience for coming and for supporting the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series. I certainly did not expect to feel a sense of community at this event, but I did. Which may be one of the many reasons why Monster Jam is so popular and a special treat for everyone with a seat!
I encourage you to go if like me you are a Monster Jam newbie! Looking for more Things to Do in Tampa? Check out our weekly Top 10 Things to Do This Weekend in Tampa Bay, published every Wednesday. Stay connected to local events and businesses with useful, easy to consume information by registering on 813area – it’s free! Join our 250,000+ subscribers to connect to things to do in Tampa, restaurants, local sports, travel deals, business, family-friendly, free events and more! Photo courtesy of Monster Jam Facebook page