||Lake Cle Elum, Washington
A competitor in Monster Jam® since 1986, Jeff Bainter found in his early years that he loved driving tractors on his family farm in Washington state. He had begun working on the farm at the age of six. Bainter says that he was raised by “two hard-working and loving parents who always taught him that hard work pays off and a job worth doing is worth doing right.” As a youth, he enjoyed playing all types of sports. He especially found that he enjoyed every bit of the competition racing motocross. After he got his driver’s license, his first vehicle was a Jeep. He wheeled the Jeep, broke it, and had to learn how to fix it himself. Because of this, he decided to attend Arizona Automotive Institute (AAI) after graduating high school. After he completed a specialized training program in auto mechanics at AAI, Bainter returned to his home state and started repairing cars for a living. He started doing some custom fabrication and soon learned that he really enjoyed working on all types of auto projects. He built a couple of Jeeps and trucks for friends, from ground up. Several of them were featured in major off-road publications.
Q&A with Jeff Bainter
MonsterJam.com: How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
Jeff Bainter: I traveled to the Seattle King Dome competition in 1986 after finishing my original monster truck, “The World’s Largest Jeep”—HOTSTUFF. The folks at the United States Hot Rod Association saw it, loved it, and I have been working steady for them, ever since.
MonsterJam.com: What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
Jeff Bainter: That has changed (for the better) over the years. Now, if I have any free time, I try to meet up with friends that I have made in the cities that I have visited. If I have my daughter with me, I always try to find some local attraction to visit.
MonsterJam.com: What do you do with your free time?
Jeff Bainter: I just recently finished building my dream home on a mountain lake in the Cascade Mountains. I really enjoy riding my snowmobile with buddies in the winter. And, I’m always on the lake in the summer. My daughter, Haley, occupies most of my free time. I enjoy watching her play sports.
MonsterJam.com: What is your greatest memory as a monster truck driver?
Jeff Bainter: As a competitor, big stadium show wins always feel great. I had my share of them in my earlier days, but now it’s getting much harder to win them because the competition is so tough. One thing I am realizing at this stage of my career is that some of the greatest memories and stories I have to share with my friends at home come from the crazy things that happened while traveling to and from, or even during, monster truck events, things that at the time were sometimes pleasant and sometimes not so pleasant. My friends back home love to hear road stories!
MonsterJam.com: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run though?
Jeff Bainter: I like to study the track. And I keep busy making sure the truck is ready.
MonsterJam.com: If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you follow?
Jeff Bainter: After dedicating this many years to the monster truck industry, I don’t think I am qualified to do anything else.
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite food?
Jeff Bainter: Chinese, BBQ
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite television show?
Jeff Bainter: Two and a Half Men
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite color?
Jeff Bainter: Blue
Truck Name: CAPTAIN USA
Body: 1998 GMC
Chassis: Patrick Enterprises
Engine size: 482 CI
Transmission: B&M 2-speed
Shocks: RaceSource stage 11
Sponsors: Primary Corporate – TIRE FACTORY stores
Product sponsors: Warn winches, B&M Transmissions, Deka batteries, King bearings, Isky camshafts, Flex-A-Lite fans, Energy Suspension