Following Father's Footsteps
There are many paths to success in today’s Monster Jam®, but no guarantees. The newest superstars had to learn from someone, somewhere, who has already travelled down the path and learned the lessons.
In some cases, the new driver had to look no further than his or her own family. As son or daughter of a Monster Jam driver, it’s all right there in front of you. If your aspiration is to get behind the wheel of a Monster Jam truck, your best teacher is within easy reach.
The 2016 Monster Jam roster includes several second generation racers who are competing against their fathers and some who have taken up the battle in their place. These circumstances can bring added pressure to perform and win, but all indications point to success within the grasp of most.
In the 2005 Monster Jam yearbook, Dennis Anderson stated, “I would love for a second generation of Grave Digger® drivers to keep it in the family.” That’s exactly the way it has happened as Ryan Anderson (Son-uva Digger) and Adam Anderson (Grave Digger) have become their own respective forces on tour.
Team Max-DTM provides another example of the second generation times two. Tom Meents has brought along sons Colton and Jared Eichelberger for participation in the sport to ensure that Max-D chases titles for years to come.
“He’s always been my inspiration,” said Colton Eichelberger of 11-time World Champion Tom Meents. “He’s the best teacher and father you can have. He’s taught me everything I know and I’m sure my brother (Jared) would say the same thing. He’s the reason we’re able to do this. Without him and his help, we wouldn’t be where we are.”
Colton looks forward to their next meeting. He managed to take two of the three competitions from his father in Peoria in 2015. “I joke that I had to let him win one or my rent would go up,” said Colton, “but he actually did beat me. There are a bunch of good racers out there that you want to beat, but the person who taught you everything is always at the top of the list. He’s one of the biggest stars in Monster Jam and those are huge shoes to fill. I want to reach that level.”
The role of father as teacher goes well beyond the pit area. At each Monster Jam, the stands are filled with young children, often led to their seats by their fathers to enjoy the show. The fathers, likely adults who were fans as children, share in the joys of their children. These special moments create lifelong memories that bring generations closer. Eager youngsters listen and learn as Monster Jam provides unforgettable experiences.
School’s out and Monster Jam is on the road with many great shows this summer. It’s a great place to take Dad. He doesn’t need another tie or coffee mug. He’d look great in a Monster Jam T-shirt.
Father vs. Son
Vaters – Mike Vaters II has won 8 of 10 races against his father, Mike Vaters
Huffaker – In their last meeting, Ryan Huffaker beat Pablo Huffaker (Arlington, TX Feb. 23, 2013)
Sims – Steven Sims beat Steve Sims in Atlanta (2016), but the next week in Tampa, Steve Sims got revenge. They are 1-1 in 2016.
Anderson (Adam) – Adam Anderson has not raced his father Dennis Anderson since 2014. Adam won three and Dennis won 1 that year.
Anderson (Ryan) – Ryan Anderson has not raced his father Dennis Anderson since 2015. In the last four years, each driver has won 9 and lost 9 in head-to-head matchups.
Father vs. Daughter
Ramer – Rosalee Ramer has raced father Kelvin Ramer once, in Salinas, CA, this year. Kelvin won.