For many, “go big or go home” is simply a motto; for monster truck drivers, it’s a way of life. This Friday and Saturday, the Thompson-Boling Arena will host Hot Rods’ Monster Jam, a monster truck rally for every adrenaline junkie.
The 18-wheelers tearing up Tennessee highways pale in comparison to these monster trucks. Each truck in Monster Jam sports 66-inch tires on a standard Chevy or Ford frame and is usually owned and driven by the same person, giving each truck its own unique personality. Some trucks feature sleek, customized cab designs such as the “Batman” and “Escalade,” while others such as “Annihilator,” “Bulldozer” and “Destroyer” are featured to make a mess out of any smaller vehicles. Despite their size, these trucks sport a 1400+ horsepower engine, an engine more than capable of gaining altitude off a ramp.
The most famous monster truck since the sport’s conception is “Grave Digger,” which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The truck is a standard for others in the sport, having a 1500 horsepower engine with Goodyear’s “Terra Tires.” The 10,000 pound machine is legendary for its car-destroying ability, while also being able to propel itself as high as 100 feet. “Grave Digger’s” engine alone costs $50,000, with the total price of the truck running upwards of $250,000.
Of course, the sport is incredibly hard on the trucks used, so all the machines are constantly under maintenance.
The event is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and will feature several of Monster Jam’s most famous trucks, including “Predator,” “Prowler,” “Full Boar,” “Bad News” and “Aftershock,” along with some freestyle motocross stunts as a prelude. The event will also feature an appearance by “Draco the Dragonator,” a mechanical, fire-breathing, car-eating machine — taking monster trucks to a whole new level.
“I saw the ‘Dragonator’ eat a car at a monster truck rally when I was little, so it goes without saying that I’m pretty pumped about it making an appearance at Thompson-Boling,” Zach Adkins, a junior in psychology, said. “Nothing can top a night full of jacked-up trucks crushing old junkyard cars — nothing except Draco.”
Tickets for the events can be purchased at Thompson-Boling Arena and at any Tickets Unlimited location. Tickets purchased in advance start at $15 and move up to $17 on Friday and Saturday. Ticket holders for Saturday’s show are also encouraged to come to the Pit Party beforehand to meet and take pictures with the truck and motocross drivers. Pit passes are available for free at any Advanced Auto Parts location or are an extra $5 at the door.
“The last time we had this event in Knoxville, it was a huge success,” Tim Reese, manager of Thompson-Boling Arena, said. “We had a huge crowd, a diverse one with lots of families and students, and it was a lot of fun.”
Whether you’re looking to see some of the wildest examples of road rage ever enacted or for that adrenaline boost after a lecture-filled week, Monster Jam is a rush you won’t want to miss.