JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Thousands of fans are expected to make their way downtown Saturday for Monster Jam at EverBank Field. On Friday, the driver and creator of Grave Digger, Dennis Anderson, gave us a behind the scenes look.
Anderson has been driving monster trucks for more than three decades, and at 52, he said he is the oldest guy on the track.
"When you've done it for as long as I have, we live and we learn and we've written a lot of the rules by some of the mistakes I have made out on the track. I've broken my knee, broken my back, broken my ribs. I've broken my shoulder, my arm, my nose," said Anderson.
Despite all those injuries he said the sport is now safer than it's ever been, and his love of big trucks and big tires plus his drive to please the fans keeps him coming back for more.
"I would say it's scary more than dangerous. It looks like it is dangerous because we do wreck a lot but we have these massive roll cages. All of these safety devices, seats and straps and harnesses so I feel like I'm bullet proof," said Anderson.
The monster trucks have wheels that are 66 inches tall and 43 inches wide. His tires cost $3,000 each.
"These things are highly powered. They are 1500 horsepower. They weigh 10,000 pounds," explains Anderson.
And with all that power, Anderson said a small box inside the truck is one of the most important safety features. It's called an ignition interrupter.
"If something happens and one of the officials sees something that is getting ready to come loose off the truck, they can shut us off with a transmitter from over a half mile away," Anderson said.
The Monster Jam has become a family affair for him. He has two sons on the circuit. Saturday night, he will go head to head with his 22-year-old, Ryan Anderson.
"I'm the creator of freestyle and I don't want him to take that flag away from me yet."
It's the freestyle competition Anderson said really draws the fans to their feet.
"You go ballistically crazy in your monster truck, and it's your opportunity to just drill it into the ground, thrill the people and just do whatever you can to win the judges over," said Anderson.
Monster Jam starts at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $10. There's a Pit Party from 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. You can get free tickets to the Pit Party at Jacksonville area Southern Ford Dealers while supplies last.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office expects traffic to be very slow downtown Saturday and advises Monster Jam fans arrive three hours early.
First Coast News