Monster Jam is coming to Greenville this weekend and families are super pumped – as they should be because the show is awesome. Ginormous trucks speed around the arena, smashing cars, flipping over, doing wheelies, and generally living out all our craziest driving fantasies.
But what’s it really like driving those trucks? Even better, what’s it like being a woman and driving Grave Digger? Luckily for our readers, we got to talk to Krysten Anderson ahead of this weekend’s Monster Jam about her experience as a Monster Truck driver and smashing everything from cars to the glass ceiling.
Kidding Around Greenville: What drew you to wanting to drive a Monster Truck? How can a regular person become a Monster Truck driver?
Krysten Anderson: My dad created Grave Digger in 1982 so he’s a pioneer in Monster Trucks and my brothers drive the trucks as well. I’ve always been around Grave Digger so it was a normal thing for me and I didn’t realize how popular it was until I got older. My two older brothers were always into racing and motorsports so it was expected they would drive – but not really for myself. Initially, I was going to go to school for art and wanted to get a job designing the trucks but then Monster Jam called me when I turned 18 and asked me if I wanted to drive Grave Digger – they never had a female drive that truck and to this day, I’m still the only one.
It’s possible that fans can become drivers who have some kind of mechanic inclination. Go to MonsterJam.com and submit a resume with Feld Entertainment. Also, a motorsports degree is being offered at the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) and Monster Jam has been recruiting from that program, so that’s another way to get into it.
KAG: Do you have a hard time driving standard cars on the highway? Do you instinctively want to drive over the cars in front of you?
KA: I’m kind of a fast and aggressive driver who is strictly business, wanting to get from point A to point B. I drive a Jeep Wrangler so it’s one of the bigger trucks. If I could get in my Grave Digger on the highway, I totally would.
KAG: Monster Jam is fairly male-dominated. What’s it like being a woman in that environment?
KA: Growing up with my dad and three brothers, my whole life has been male-dominated so it doesn’t make me uncomfortable being in this environment and I’m not intimidated. I feel like I can definitely bring the competition. My brothers didn’t treat me like a princess and treated me as one of their own, which really helped me be the female competitor I am today.
I’m in the top four competitors on my tour right now and there are plenty of females taking home big wins on Monster Jam. It’s a pretty good year for the girls.
KAG: Do you date much? Guys are probably either really intimidated or really intrigued, right?
KA: My boyfriend, Tyler, is actually another Grave Digger driver who is touring in California. If I had to date again, I have no idea how I’d break the ice with what I do. Tyler was intrigued and we’ve been dating for three years and he hasn’t been scared away yet.
KAG: What’s the biggest thing you’ve smashed with a truck besides the glass ceiling?
KA: Every time we come out, we always have crushed cars from a Toyota Camry, trailers, SUVs, you name it.
KAG: And what’s the most memorable reaction you’ve gotten from a kid when they find out you’re a Monster Truck driver?
KA: Best reactions are from little girls and their moms. People expect men when they come out to Monster Jam and I love seeing little girls coming through the line with their Grave Digger shirts. The moms that come to me after the show or online to thank me for inspiring their little girls are so meaningful. I love that their little girls see me and are inspired to do things they may not have considered before.
Want to see Krysten driving in person? Monster Jam is at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Friday, February 8th at 7 pm and Saturday, February 9th at 1 pm and 7 pm. Tickets available here or at the box office.