SALT LAKE CITY — A career as a monster truck driver might not appeal to everyone, but for Alex Blackwell, it’s been his life for the last 10 years.
Blackwell began driving large stunt trucks, typically referred to as “monster trucks,” at the age of 30 after a 16-year career as a motocross pro rider. In 2002, an injury forced his retirement from motorcycles. For Blackwell, the next logical step was to get behind the wheel of a massive truck.
“These trucks weigh 10,000 lbs., and I usually jump them 40 to 50 feet in the air,” Blackwell said. “There is just a rush of sitting behind the wheel of something like that.”
Blackwell said what he enjoys most, apart from the adrenaline of actually driving the trucks, is what his performances mean for the spectators.
“Last weekend, I was able to offer up my riding shirt to a returning vet with his kids,” Blackwell said. “Doing things for our military and community makes driving monster trucks so worth it.”
Blackwell said things have come a long way in the last few years as far as safety goes for the drivers. He wears a seven-point harness in the arena and has a special driver’s seat that has been custom made to fit his body.
“I’m a short guy, 5 foot 6 inches, so I’m so glad to have a seat that has been tailor made to fit me,” Blackwell said.
The Monster Jam tour takes Blackwell around the world. While being on the road so much can get tiring, Blackwell said he loves meeting fans from all over.
“We go to South America and Europe,” Blackwell said. “I’ve been going internationally for 10 years. We have a fan following everywhere we go.”
Blackwell said people often ask him what sort of practice goes into each performance. Mostly, he said, the drivers just make up routines on the spot.
“If you see someone do a backflip in their truck, it means they wanted to do that right then,” Blackwell said. “We don’t get to practice during the week, so each weekend show is when we get to play around and try out new stunts. Things aren’t really planned out.”
Monster Jam is coming to Salt Lake City Feb. 14 and 15. For tickets, go to MonsterJam.com or call the Energy Solutions box office at 800-888-TIXX.