It’s February! Time for Monster Jam’s annual weekend engagement in Cleveland, OH. The massive machines will power through Rocket Mortgage to showcase massive horsepower for four shows on February 18 & 19. {Complete event and ticket information can be found: RIGHT HERE!

For those unfamiliar with a Monster Jam competition, we decided to have Tony Ochs, driver of the newest member of the Monster Jam fleet, ThunderROARus, break it down in a recent phone interview:

“There are four competitions in Monster Jam events. You start with racing, which is pretty cut and dry. Depending on how large the venue is, we either do head-to-head racing or we’ll do timed racing. If the venue is really small and we’re within hockey dashers, we’ll do timed racing. You run the course and whoever has the fastest time is the winner,” Ochs explained.

Next up on the agenda?

“We have the two-wheel skills competition. In the two-wheel skills competition, the drivers get to go out and display whatever tricks they want to show on two wheels and showcase the finesse they have,” Ochs continued. “We’ll see wheelies, ‘bicylcles’ (riding on two tires on one side of the other,’ side-wall donuts, which is always a crowd pleaser.”

The Monster Jam trucks take a brief intermission and fans are treated to a showcase of motocross daredevils. Ochs says these “death-defying tricks” are a real treat and fan favorite.

The Monster Jam trucks then return to the dirt for their third installment:

“We do donuts. You get the truck spinning as fast as you can. The crowd just loves that because we just let those engines sing,” Ochs said. “I hold the throttle wide open when I do my donuts. Dirt just flies everywhere. It’s pretty spectacular when you can get your monster truck up on two wheels in the donut.”

Finally, it is time for the thrill that the crowd has been anticipating the most!

“After the donut competition, it’s what everyone loves: Freestyle! That’s where you see all the competitors go out and just do everything they can to please the crowd and get huge air and mix in some wheelies, softies, donuts, backflips..the works,” he exclaimed.

Prior to being a Monster Jam driver, Ochs worked for another Feld Entertainment production with Marvel Universe Live as a motorcycle technician. Prior to that? Ochs was (still is!) a true American tour, having served FIVE tours overseas in service to the United States Army as an Apache Helicopter Crew Chief.

Ochs was asked if his skills learned in the military have transferred in any way to his role with Monster Jam:

“I think the biggest takeaway from my military experience that helps me currently, as a monster jam driver, is the ability to handle and perform under pressure. That’s the biggest takeaway in my current position,” he answered. “When I submitted my resume they said, ‘You’re overqualified.’ I said, ‘Perfect, I’ll be there.’”

Ochs is thrilled to be behind the wheel of ThuderROARus. In addition to being the most recently added vehicle, it is undoubtedly an instant fan favorite!

“With kids, dinosaurs are a #1 seller in the world, so when they come and see a dinosaur monster truck they are just blown away,” he confirmed. “I get a lot of people in the pit parties when the families get to come down and get up close and personal with the trucks and the drivers; the kids say, ‘You’re my new favorite truck!’ That just tickles me.”

The reaction of the youngsters in the audience is what makes the Monster Jam journey all worthwhile for Ochs:

“That’s what makes it! That’s why it’s so special. You get to create these memories for these kids that, you know, they are going to remember forever. A lot of families come for the first time and when they say, ‘Oh, it’s my first time!’ I say, ‘I bet it won’t be the last,'” he said with a laugh.

But why won’t it be one’s last time? Why do fans keep coming to the event year in and year out?

“You just never know what you’re going to see! A big spectacular crash? A giant backflip? Something out of the ordinary of everyday life? As a father of two beautiful little girls myself, to see these kids light up, it makes life worth living, you know what I mean? That’s happiness,” he said.

Be sure to get your tickets in advance! Ochs knows better than anybody that the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse crowd is always full for Monster Jam.

“Cleveland is usually a great turnout! We have four events and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them all sold out!”


This writer HIGHLY RECOMMENDS purchasing a Pit Party pass! It’s a great opportunity for photo opportunities that will create long-lasting memories.

PIT PASS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SAME-DAY 1:00 PM EVENT TICKET! The Pit Party is a pre-competition event taking place from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM. Ages 2 & up require a ticket. Please monitor the venue website for venue policies, including health and safety protocols, which are subject to change. 

The excitement begins at the Monster Jam® Pit Party where you can see the massive trucks up close, meet your favorite drivers and crews, get autographs, take pictures and enjoy many other family-friendly activities. This fun-filled experience is the only place where you can get up close access to the Monster Jam teams. Plus, get an insider’s look at how these trucks are built to stand up to the competition. There’s nothing like it.  

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