At 12 feet tall sitting on 66-inch tall tires and boosting 2,000 horsepower, it’s no secret that both motorsports and non-motorsports fans are lured in by the sight of trucks jumping up to 35 feet in the air and flying distances up to 130 feet. For that reason, it’s no secret that Canadians are excited for the kick-off of the 2016 Canadian Monster Jam Tour.
The Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario will host 16 of the best, coolest trucks on the tour featuring a wide range of stars on January 16 and 17. Out of the 16 drivers that are set to put on a show for the fans this weekend, four of them have won in Toronto through the past several years.
Rod Schmidt, who will be behind the wheel of Monster Mutt Rottweiler, tops the all-time win list for Ontario’s capital city with 11 victories – four in racing and seven in freestyle. There is no other drivers who has had as much success as Schmidt throughout the years, as the next driver in the win category is Randy Brown with six victories.
Through the early 2000s, it seemed that Toronto was the playground for the veteran, which kicked off with a sweep of both racing and freestyle in the Saturday show in 2002. From there on, Schmidt would score four straight freestyle victories in the following two years across both days, to go along with a 2004 Sunday Racing victory. Schmidt wouldn’t score a victory in 2005, but came back in 2006 to sweep both the Saturday and Sunday shows, in winning both racing and freestyle. Since then, he has yet to score a victory in Toronto but there’s no doubt that he could possibly make that happen sometime over the course of this weekend.
Entering his 24th season of competition, the Iowa native hasn’t slowed down at all since his debut as he continues to push his truck harder, flying it high above jumps with some unique rotation in the process.
Chad Tingler is a familiar face to many Canadian fans as he has piloted the Grave Digger truck in Toronto over the past several seasons. This year, though, things will be different as Tingler will be behind the wheel of one of the new trucks – Alien Invasion. The silver and green truck was debuted by Monster Jam this season, and so far has caught attention from show-goers in other cities.
Despite a different truck, he should be one of the drivers to watch as he has a lot of experience, beginning his career as a driver in 2005. That experience led to him picking up the racing win in Toronto on Sunday in 2014. Look for him to be one of the drivers in the racing finals on either day of competition.
While Tingler won’t be behind the wheel of Grave Digger, those duties will be handed to Carl Van Horn. Each driver in the Digger line-up knows how to produce a top-notch show, going along with the team’s slogan of being “Bad to the Bone.” Horn is no exception to the rule, having been competing behind the wheel since 2002. “CVH,” as he is known, has seen his talent behind the wheel recognized by the industry in the past, as he has made three appearances at the Monster Jam World Finals. That experience has led him to score four previous victories in Toronto, sweeping both the Saturday and Sunday show in 2005.
A lot of eyes will be on 2012 Monster Jam World Finals Champion Cam McQueen behind the wheel of Northern Nightmare. The red and black Ford debuted in November 2011 as the Canadian truck, dubbed with maple leafs from front to rear. It seems fitting to have a Calgary, Alberta, native behind the wheel as he has grown in talent with each season and was one of the first drivers to accomplish a back-flip. McQueen has impressed fans in the past, scoring a pair of freestyle victories and a racing victory.
On that note, McQueen enters this weekend as the city’s most recent freestyle winner with last year’s Sunday victor Tom Meents not in attendance this season. Last year in the Saturday show, McQueen took center stage, putting in an impressive freestyle with solid air across the entire floor of the arena. He was flying across the obstacles, doing donuts – anything that he could do possible on the floor. He would then park the truck on top of one of the big obstacles to signal the end. If he could do that once again, look for him to be victorious once again.
Driving Son-Uva Digger, Ryan Anderson has only made one previous appearance in Toronto, which was in 2014. He left a lasting impression on the fans with a racing victory during the Saturday show, followed by the victory in freestyle on Sunday. Through his run, he attacked every end of the course, gaining height off of many of the obstacles, while attacking them every which angle possible. Add in a top notch cyclone, Anderson was scored at 28 points for the win.
This year, Anderson has an all-new chassis that he is bringing to Toronto, but that will not change how he attacks the track. Look for him to entertain the fans through the entire 90 second freestyle with high, flying action.
Each of the names listed above will certainly be looking to add to their victory totals with more success. Though it’ll be tough for them to do, as they will have to beat 12 other top-notch drivers to do so. Those drivers are: Black Stallion driven by Matt Cody, Dragon driven by Scott Liddycoat, Higher Education driven by Jim Tracey, Hurricane Force driven by Steven Thompson, Rage driven by Cory Rummel, Scooby-Doo driven by Nicole Johnson, Storm Damage driven by Tim Mente, Wrecking Crew driven by Dave Radzierez, Zombie driven by Sean Duhon, Bounty Hunter driven by Trent Montgomery, and Iron Outlaw driven by Brian Maes.
Toronto has grown a reputation as being one of the must-see shows on the tour. For that reason, be sure to purchase tickets and be attendance as there are still plenty of tickets available.
Ticket prices start at $20 for adults and $15 for Kids tickets for children 12 and under. Pit Party Passes are available for purchase for $10. Tickets and Pit Passes are available at the Rogers Centre Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.ca, and at (855) 985-5000.
The Pit Party will be held from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday, January 16 and 10:30am to 12pm on Sunday, January 17. The pre-show pit party gives fans the chance to see the massive Monster Jam trucks up close, meet drivers, take pictures and get autographs. To access the Pit Party, event ticket and Pit Party Pass must be presented upon entry.
For more information, visit www.monsterjamcanada.ca.
Statistics courtesy of Kyle Sedan