The 20th edition of the Monster Jam World Finals was hosted for the first time in Orlando, Florida at Camping World Stadium earlier in May. What makes the World Finals unique from other Monster Jam events is that it serves as the culmination of the season, bringing together the champions of all of the other events held throughout the world. Over the course of two days in Orlando, seven champions across different disciplines were crowned. And it's not just competitors from around the world—fans from across the globe attend, too. "This is my first World Finals," says Blake Granger, the gold medalist in ATV racing. "I've met people from all over the world. Australia. London. It's just crazy. To meet people who have come from all over is truly a dream come true."
The two most popular and familiar Monster Jam events are the 12,500 pound monster trucks competing in Freestyle and Racing competitions. In the Freestyle competition, trucks jump over ramps, do back flips and complete other insane tricks to earn the highest score. The winner of the competition is determined by a live fan vote by the spectators in the stadium. Racing is the only monster truck competition that does not perform tricks. The single elimination bracket including 24 finalists features a high-speed race down a ramp to a hairpin turn and a high-jump to the finish.
At this year’s World Finals there were two new monster trucks events added: The High Jump competition and the Two Wheel Skills Challenge. In the High Jump contest, trucks launch off a ramp and are measured mid-air, after jumping over five stories in the air! And the landing can also be quite a show. The Two Wheel Skills Challenge is a contest where the trucks have 60 seconds to perform a trick on two wheels. Imagine a six-ton truck doing “wheelies” on their front two wheels with the driver staring at the ground! The winner of the event is the one who gets the highest fan vote score.
Overall, seven World Finals champions were awarded with gold medals. But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the weekend activities was that Monster Jam athletes put the fans first. Every driver and staff member talked about putting on the best show for the fans when competing. Tristan England, driver of Earth Shaker, says that "World Finals is all about being one-on-one with the fans. It’s all about giving these fans their money’s worth!" In addition to the big shows that include firework and amazing stunts, what makes Monster Jam unique is that fans get the access to meet and talk to all of their favorite drivers in a “pit party” hosted outside the stadium before the competition. Fans can have their photos taken next to their favorite monster trucks, or wait to get an autograph and photo with their favorite drivers.
Even if you have never been to a Monster Jam event before, there is a monster truck for every fan. If you love cartoons, there is Scooby-Doo. If you are patriotic, there is Soldier Fortune. And if you are into sci-fi, there is Alien Invasion. Those are just some of the designs to choose from – but there is a monster truck theme for everyone! And surely, there's a Monster Jam event for everyone, too.