Monster Jam driver is really going big
The roar and excitement of the Monster Trucks returns to Charleston early next month as the Monster Jam circuit returns to the capital city. One of the circuit’s newest drivers, Justin Hicks of Prattsburg, New York, will be behind the wheel of the popular Pirate’s Curse truck, entertaining those in the stands.
I have been a Monster Jam fan for as long as I can remember and am looking forward to seeing Hicks line up against the other competitors.
I recently hooked up with the 32-year-old rookie driver by phone and found out why he wanted to get behind the wheel of the 12,000-pound truck, “It’s an extreme sport that provides me with an adrenaline rush that I have a hard time describing. I remember the first time my parents took me to a Monster Jam event and realized way back then I had a need to go out there and go big.” Hicks is no stranger to top notch competition as he is a two-time New York State Amateur Motocross Champion.
I have seen a couple of motocross races at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County and know those riders go big when they are on the course. I had Hicks compare the two types of racing for me, “I think the biggest comparison between motocross, and monster truck racing is the competition between the drivers and both peak your adrenaline level to the max. It’s different, of course, because I’m now on four-wheels, but the excitement level is still incredibly high.” The other trucks scheduled to be in Charleston, along with High’s Pirate’s Curse, will be, Blue Thunder, El Toro Loco, Grave Digger, Monster Energy, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, Soldier Fortune and Zombie.
Hicks made his Monster Jam debut a couple of weeks ago in Nashville, Tennessee.
The young driver didn’t capture any event wins, but learned a lot, “Knowing that I could go out there and compete with some of the best in the business was amazing just to line up and compete against them. It was a humbling experience, but when it was all over, I was ready to get back into the truck and do it all over again, as soon as possible.” In Nashville, Hicks ended up in fifth place, but did capture all of the ATV races, which are part of the Triple Threat Monster Jam series, which is the series that is headed to Charleston.
Hicks learned to drive the 1,500-horse powered truck at Monster Jam University that is conducted by World Champion Driver, Tom Meents, in Paxton, Illinois. Hicks made it clear, the instruction he received wasn’t all fun and games, “It was a very strenuous program, we would train for 10-hours a day, learning every aspect of the truck. From doing wheelies to doing donuts to racing to free style, the instructors made sure we were ready to perform on the Monster Jam circuit. Working with Meents and having him share his knowledge with us, was the most exciting part of the training.”
The first family of Monster Truck racing, the Anderson’s, Dennis, Adam and Ryan, have been mentors for Hick, early in his career. I have met Dennis and Adam and understand Hick’s affection for those guys “There are all inspirations to me, they have paved the way for young drivers like me to be able to try something I have always wanted to do and just have a huge amount of respect for those guys and only who I can make them proud.”
For more information on the upcoming Monster Jam event at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center on Feb. 1 and 2, just go to www.monsterjam.com and hope to see you there.
Christian Deiss, of Winfield, is a freshman at Hurricane High School.