Kelvin Ramer got his
first pickup truck in high school, and he would take it to the local sand pits
and play. Ramer says he’d drive through
water, over jumps, get sideways, and just have fun. He was the first at his school to put a lift
and big Super Swamper tires on his truck. After high school, he moved to Arizona to
attend Universal Technical Institute. While
there Ramer competed in their student drag races, and also did his first truck
pull. After graduation, he moved back
to California and started going 4-wheeling with local off-road clubs. Ramer says that he has been to most of the
off-road spots in California, including the Rubicon, Hollister Hills and Pismo,
and participated in annual events like Mud-In-Yer-Eye. He continued competing in more truck pulls
and also a few mud bogs. Ramer has raced 80cc Shifter Karts, and earned a Kart
track championship in 2000.
Q&A with Kelvin Ramer
How did you get started competing on
the Monster Jam circuit?
The first time my wife and I saw a monster
truck, we thought it looked like a lot of fun!!
So, in 1984, we started buying parts and building a truck of our
own. One of the 4-wheel drive clubs we
belonged to was asked to volunteer at several ZZYZX Motorsports events and we
met promoter Dave Matthews, and many different monster truck drivers. I would jump in and help whenever needed with
several monster truck teams, ask questions, and learn as much as I could by
observing the trucks. I was in a bad
accident as a passenger in a service truck in 1987, and we sold most of the
monster truck parts we had gathered to pay for doctors and living
expenses. By 1988, we had started
building a monster truck again. In 1991,
we started an Auto Transport company, and as the business grew we had to sell
the second collection of monster truck parts to buy more transport trucks. We still kept going to shows and helping
different teams. In 1997, we started
over for the third time and it was the charm!
We saved, bought parts and built the truck in our spare time. The truck took 7 years to complete, from 1997
to 2004. In 1998, I started driving a
ride truck for Sam Sturges. My first
time in a race truck was at a show in Santa Maria, CA. in 2001. I continued to drive both the ride truck and the
race truck for the Sturges team at several shows a year up until the debut of
our truck in Madera, CA. on October 1, 2004.
Our first Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam show was Anaheim in January,
What do you enjoy doing while on the
road with Monster Jam?
Seeing the country and meeting people. Our family has been to many places including
Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, Carlsbad
Caverns, Silverton Falls, Oregon Sand Dunes, Galveston Island, NASA in Houston,
Mt. Rushmore, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Space Needle, and numerous water parks
and amusement parks. We’ve also followed
part of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Both
of our kids have done reports at school based on places they’ve actually been
to and the historical things that they’ve seen.
way, we’ve met many people. Wherever we
go, whether it’s at a show or a truck stop or even at the movies, we enjoy
seeing the smiles that the monster trucks bring to people’s faces.
What do you do with your free time?
Our kids attend a parent-run charter school,
and most of my spare time is spent helping out at school. I am a classroom aid, and also drive for their
field trips and sports teams. Our school
does week-long science camps at places like Yosemite and Catalina Island, and I
really enjoy being a chaperone for those trips.
We bring Time Flys to school once a year, I speak to them about the math
and physics of truck building, and every student gets to climb up and sit in the
What is your greatest memory as a
monster truck driver?
We fly the Donate Life flag on our trucks to
honor organ donors, and promote awareness that more donors are needed. We’ve become friends with several people that
are awaiting transplants and also with several that have already received their
transplants. One very special memory of mine was when I met
Michael Lindo, who suffers from a heart condition called transposition of the
great arteries. He was 5 years old when
we met, and he had already spent a lot of time in hospitals. Since we met, he
has come to many of my shows, and we’ve become special friends.
As a driver,
I appreciate the honor of performing with some of the best teams and drivers in
I’ve gone for
some wild rides that were fun and exhilarating! They really get my adrenaline
pumping, which gives me the energy to stay up and fix the truck afterwards.
Getting a Hot
Wheels made of Time Flys, and finding it in a store was a surreal moment. We are honored to have had our truck made
into a Hot Wheels.
Do you have any pre-show rituals that
you run though?
Kelvin Ramer: I have a checklist of things to do to the
truck before each show, including tightening bolts and nuts, inspecting things,
and checking tire pressures. I also walk
the track and check out the obstacles and jumps. Just before the show I take a few minutes to
myself to mentally prepare. Once I’m in the truck I take the time to tighten
each of my seat belts evenly, up until I can barely breathe. I get my helmet
and Hans device on securely and the belts tightened at least two or three
trucks before it is my turn to go.
What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite movie?
What’s your favorite television show?
Powerblock, MonsterJam on SPEED, Doogie Howser, MD.
What’s your favorite color?
Name: Time Flys
Body: 1934 Ford Pickup
Transmission: Coan Powerglide
Shocks: Racesource triple bypass, 30” rear travel,
26” front travel
Mascot: Snowball the cat
Auto Care Towing, Watsonville, CA; Wever’s Welding & Fabrication,
San Marcos, CA.