Kayla Blood, a 29-year-old mom who lives in Louisiana, is fierce. She was in the Louisiana National Guard for six years and now drives a huge Monster Truck called Soldier Fortune on weekends. Oh, and she competes against her husband, Blake Granger, who drives Maximum Destruction in Monster Jam Triple Threat Series®.
Kayla is nothing but ordinary yet deals with the same challenges that most of us moms face just trying to do our best for our kids and family. She’s had to overcome vast obstacles to get where she is now, choosing to never let an opportunity pass her by where she didn’t make the most of it. Now she’s the first female National Guard veteran driver for Monster Jam, crashing through the glass ceiling with Solider Fortune.
You can cheer for Kayla at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena at the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series® shows on Friday, February 7th at 7 pm and Saturday, February 8th at 1 pm and 7 pm. We got a chance to chat with her about her son, how she got started as a Monster Truck driver, and what it feels like to leave all the boys in the dust.
Wondering what a Monster Jam show is like? See our Review of Monster Jam.
Kidding Around Greenville: How did you start your career as a Monster Truck driver?
Kayla Blood: Before Monster Jam, I raced ATVs competitively. My husband and I were asked to do Quad Wars during a local Monster Jam show, which we just did for the fun of it. After doing New Orleans Monster Jam, I got a phone call from one of the guys that got the Quad Wars together and asked for the redhead who drove the ATV. They were looking for people who were athletically fit and capable who could compete. I fit that bracket! I trained at Monster Jam University in Illinois for about six months, learning every aspect of the Monster Jam Triple Threat show from driving to media training to gym training.
KAG: Tell us about your son. What does he think of your career? Does he come with you to shows?
Kayla: Austin is 7-years-old and I have a 9-year-old stepdaughter, Riley. They love coming to the show and it’s a definite plus when they come. Sometimes shows don’t go the way you want but it’s so nice to have their hugs and kisses. Learning the balance being away from them is hard. When I’m home, my kids are my focus. Austin is really humble so it’s almost like he’s just shy about what I do. I’m the same way and like to fly under the radar.
KAG: What’s it like being a mom while working for Monster Jam?
Kayla: It’s hard to balance – from being in a show trying to whoop these boys to transitioning to mom mode. My husband is on tour with me all year [Blake Granger who drives Maximum Destruction] and his mom is our saving grace at home. Between her and his sister, they help us so much while we are on tour.
KAG: Wow, your husband is a driver, too! What’s the dynamic like of competing against him?
Kayla: I’m the only female on the floor and I want the guys to treat me equally. I want to win fair and square. There are times when Blake and I have gone head-to-head and I’ve beat him. I love it. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it feels great. When it comes to ATVs, he’s ridden them all his life and usually leaves all of us in the dust. It makes me so mad!
Going into the Washington, DC competition we were tied in points and it was so much pressure. It was a tough weekend and now I’m in third place but not far behind. I plan on giving everything I have in Greenville. He’s standing in the way of a champion. He better get out of the way.
KAG: Were you ever deployed when you were in the Louisiana National Guard?
Kayla: I was in the Louisiana National Guard for six years and worked full-time in Force Protection, which is like military police. Then I did administrative work for my colonel. My unit had orders to deploy to Afghanistan – which is when I found out I was pregnant with my son so I couldn’t go. I wanted to do a tour but I’m so blessed with my son and everything I learned from that experience literally led me to the next one.
KAG: How do you drive normally? Are you aggressive and think you’re driving your truck and wonder why people don’t get out of the way?
Kayla: After driving my Monster Truck all weekend and coming home and getting into my car, I have to tell myself to be gentle. I can’t go all over and hit things! It’s definitely a transition. My husband says he gets so sick driving with me.
KAG: What do you hope some little girl watching you at the show takes home from the experience?
Kayla: I had to grow up at a young age and if I wanted to make anything of myself, I had to do it myself. Anything worth having in life isn’t going to be given to you – you’ll have to work for it. When you do that, you have to put yourself out there and you’ll fail. But everything that goes bad, it’s teaching you a lesson.
I was a track star in high school and went to college on a track scholarship out of state and it just didn’t work out for me. I got depressed and down on myself. I thought I was going to be this Olympic track star and it didn’t happen. When I was down, I got up and decided to join the military and do something with my life. So that’s what I did; I went to the recruiting office and before I knew it, I was in boot camp and going through crazy and amazing things that made me into the person I am now. I didn’t want to skip a beat in life, I wanted to take advantage of everything that came my way.
Never give up. When you’re a mom and working and taking care of your family, you’re doing enough. Don’t ever feel like you’re stuck – you can do something about it. Anything is possible.
Want to go to the show?
Want to see Kayla drive Soldier Fortune in Greenville? Grab tickets to the Monster Jam shows in Greenville here or at the Bon Secours Wellness Center Box Office.
Shows are at 7 pm on Friday, February 7th and at 1 pm and 7 pm on Saturday, February 8th. Tickets start at $15. The Pit Party is on Saturday from 10:30 am – Noon and costs $15.
Have you been to a Monster Jam show?