Racing: 2004, 2006, 2010
Four-time Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® World Champion, Dennis Anderson created the legend of Grave Digger® back in 1982, and to this day Grave Digger is the world's best-known Monster Jam truck. Anderson created Grave Digger in an old garage in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where he originally pieced the machine together from old parts of discarded vehicles. The original "mud-bogging" truck was supported by the corroded chassis of a 1952 Ford pickup and ran on the innards of a high-performance Chevy engine. Although his competitors had the advantage of high-tech equipment, Anderson boasted, “I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave." With these words the legend of Grave Digger was born. Anderson’s high-speed racing, insane freestyle and awe-inspiring crashes guarantee to keep his millions of fans on the edge of their seats at every event.
The fleet of Grave Digger Monster Jam trucks continues to expand; Anderson’s original creation has now become the largest and most decorated team in the sport. Today’s Grave Digger Monster Jam trucks are a colossal improvement on his original monster. Bearing the ghostly image created by painter Fred Bumann, each Grave Digger Monster Jam truck is a machine that stands alone and intimidates all in its presence.
At home, on the beaches in the southeastern United States, Anderson's fame is a product of his never-say-done, never-say-quit, never-say-can't attitude. He is touted as the creator of freestyle, going back to his early days in the sport when his aggressive driving style would often leave his broken after a round or two of racing. Always determined to please his constantly growing fan base, in those days Anderson would fix his Monster Jam after racing breakage and convince the event promoters to let him go back out to put on a non-racing show for one purpose: to please the fans, thus freestyle was born.
Appropriately, he claimed the sport’s first-ever Monster Jam World FinalsSM Freestyle Championship in 2000, and later claimed the Monster Jam World Finals Racing Championships in 2004, 2006 and 2010. Going on three decades of thrilling the sport’s largest fan base, Anderson is not slowing down. He continues to keep up a busy schedule both on the track and through his many charitable works, including extensive time devoted to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2010, he won the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award from Make-A-Wish in recognition for his admirable work with the children that the charity represents.
Though he still competes among the highest ranks, Anderson also enjoys catching the action supplied by his sons, Adam and Ryan, as they carry their father’s famous legacy into the next generation of Monster Jam.
MonsterJam.com: How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
I’ve been driving longer than Monster Jam has been around. I got my start back with Dean Moore, a promoter of the Monster on Wheels Tour, which featured mudbogging and car crushing.
MonsterJam.com: What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
Just sightseeing and getting to see parts of the country that I haven’t seen yet. I also enjoy meeting new people, making new friends, and catching up with old friends.
MonsterJam.com: What do you do with your free time?
I take my daughter (Krysten) to the barn while she rides her horse. I take my son (Weston) camping or fishing, occasionally messing with his go-kart or tuning up his power wheels. Sometimes I like to hang around with Ryan and Adam while they are wrenching on their mud trucks.
MonsterJam.com: What is your greatest memory as a Monster Jam truck driver?
I have a few: winning my first Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Championship in 2000…Adam winning his first World Freestyle Championship in 2008…Ryan winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2010…and of course I can’t forget beating Bigfoot for the first time.
MonsterJam.com: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run though?
I’ll walk the track and check out the jumps and obstacles. Other than that, I just strap myself in and wait for the green light!
MonsterJam.com: If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you follow?
I would be an off-road tour guide, either in the four wheel drive area or in a really cool swamp buggy or something like that. Or maybe a waterway/fishing tour guide with the baddest boat.
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite food?
Shrimp and tuna. I love seafood.
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite movie?
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite television show?
How It’s Made
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite color?