Start Your Engines: An Afternoon with the Trucks of Monster Jam

By Kari Miskit

Before we even walked through the doors of Sleep Train Arena, the sounds and smells made it clear that we were in for some excitement. Engines roared and exhaust hung in the air as the woman at the door scanned our tickets. My son turned to me with wide eyes and a big grin, “Mom – this is going to be AWESOME.”

Monster Jam 1-1
I’ve seen the commercials for Monster Jam for years but never quite imagined I’d ever attend a show myself. That is, until a certain little guy came into my life. If your kids love fast cars and motorcycles, big trucks, and of course dirt, then Monster Jam is for you. The show features several sections, including races and freestyle competitions, intercut with motorcycles and side-by-sides. The pace of the show is steady enough that younger kids can keep up, and my preschooler was engaged by most all of the competitions…expect when the popcorn and slushy vendors walked by.
One of my favorite parts of the show was when the audience was encouraged to wave T-shirts, towels or whatever they had with them to symbolize support for certain drivers – getting spectators involved, especially excited kids, is always a good idea.
The winning drivers are interviewed after competitions, and all were earnest when they addressed the crowd, which is a great thing for parents who are trying to teach their kids about good sportsmanship. It’s also a nice touch that winning drivers hand out their plaques to younger audience members – yet another way that the show’s organizer’s work to interact with the crowd.Sam Monster Jam
As I mentioned, the roaring engines you hear even before entering the building persist for most of the show, so ear protection is a must. We borrowed kids’ protective earmuffs from a friend, and the adults in our party sported earplugs throughout the show. Cool souvenir earmuffs are also available on site. There’s one intermission, and it’s fairly short, which is good news for those of who need the action to keep coming before our little companions get restless.
As we were heading back to our car, my son stopped and said, “Mom, I want to come back here again!” When I said we could, he stopped and headed back for the doors, “You mean, right now?!” So, all in all, I’d call the afternoon a “roaring” success.
For more information about the Monster Jam tour, visit


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