The only remnants of Gasparilla are a few bead strands in the gutters of Bayshore Boulevard, but that doesn’t mean the excitement ends for Tampa.
On Feb. 1, Monster Jam will be returning to the Raymond James Stadium. Hundreds of fans from all over Florida will gather to watch oversized, overhauled trucks do amazing tricks and tear up the freestyle course.
The event is split into two parts: racing and free-style. In the racing portion of the events these massive trucks race around the outer edges of the free-style arena to qualify for finals at the end of the season. After a brief intermission of motocross or a demolition derby, the course has been transformed so the freestyle can start.
Most of the car smashing and destruction happens during the freestyle section. Drivers are given 90 seconds to flip, spin, sling mud, smash and crash as much as they can without stalling or flipping over. After their run they are given scores from three judges to determine who wins the event, although it seems the drivers that do the most damage to their trucks tend to get the loudest cheers and the highest scores. The best known drivers of Monster Jam know how to please a crowd and will risk their trucks and sometimes their health to give a good show.
Dave Anderson, driver of Gravedigger, is the best known team and contributes largely to the Monster Jam event. Without Anderson, his father and their team of trucks, Monster Jam may have never gotten off the ground.
Another risky competitor is Tom Meets, driver of Maximum Destruction, who does an incredible job of fulfilling his truck’s name. From smashing full sized RV’s to back-flipping a 10,000 pound truck, Meets pushes his truck to the absolute limit. He has even lost tires during his routines but continued to drive the truck until it flipped or went up in smoke. These two drivers are always neck and neck during the free-style event and usually have a few surprises for the crowd during their run.
There are other trucks that may appeal to newcomers like Monster Mutt driven by Candice Jolly or Scooby-Doo driven by Nicole Johnson. The most recent team of trucks to join the circuit is the Marvel’s Avengers. Ironman, Spiderman and even Captain America have been incorporated into Monster Jam to add excitement and rivalry to the event.
If you’re concerned you’ll be the only “high-brow” college student in a sea of Duck Dynasty fans, there’s nothing to worry about. Although you might see plenty of oversized, barely street-legal tires on some of the cars in the parking lot. Not all people who attend Monster Jam are the stereotypical die-hard monster truck fans who raise their truck and slap a Salt Life sticker on the back. Lots of people go out of curiosity or to have a good time with their friends and family. Honestly, who doesn’t enjoy seeing talented drivers perform adrenalin pumping jumps and flips, especially if they’re in trucks as tall as Smiley Hall?
Club Seats & Lower Sidelines $35, Corners $25, SuperValue (3rd Tier) $15
All tickets $5 more the day of the show
Pit Passes are available at Your Southern Ford Dealers from 12/30/13 through 2/1/14 while supplies last.
Pit Passes are also available to purchase for $10 online at http://www.ticketmaster.com or Charge by Phone at 800-745-3000.
Saturday, Feb. 1 – 7 p.m. event ticket along with Pit Pass required for entry.
If they want a good show they’ll sit on the second or first level, any side is good. The show is 360 and no section is left out as far as having a good view goes. The best places to get really good pictures are on the sides.
Katherine Lavacca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org