Monster Jam mania takes over Cardiff

Monster Jam Cardiff 2016
Today, I went along to the American monster truck display, Monster Jam in the Principality Stadium, Cardiff with my father and my brother.  I first wrote about Monster Jam back last month, when I found out I’d been given a complimentary family ticket to review the event (click here to see my earlier post).

Since I found out that I’d be attending Monster Jam, I’ve been talking to everyone about it. I’ve heard some pretty impressive feedback from people who’ve attended the event in previous years; apparently the trucks are indeed monstrous and very noisy, and when Monster Jam last came to Cardiff, a small plane was flown around the inside of what was then the Millennium Stadium (recently renamed as the Principality Stadium). I was expecting to be filled with awe at the sight of the enormous trucks ploughing their way through challenging obstacle courses and battling it out in freestyle competitions. 

Judging by the turnout, I wasn’t alone in my excitement about Monster Jam. No less than 30,000 people flocked to the Principality Stadium to see the monster trucks compete, many of whom were families with children. As you can imagine, the roads were chocka. We were stuck in slow-moving traffic from the outskirts off Cardiff leading right into the city centre and parking was a nightmare, so unfortunately we didn’t arrive at the event until around half an hour after it had started. 

As we arrived, we just managed to catch the last few laps of the freestyle motocross bikers. Speeding over ramps and doing somersaults on their bikes as they soared through the air, the bikers were fascinating to watch. I felt quite on edge as I watched to see whether they would land safely after each stunt, although thankfully there were no accidents. 

When the freestyle motocross riders had done their thing it was time to get the real show on the road, so to speak. The monster trucks were lined up in a row along one side of the stadium, raring to go.

Firstly, they took to the obstacle course one-by-one to impress the judges with their wheelie techniques.

Hot Wheels Monster Jam, Cardiff 2016

Team Hot Wheels Firestorm, driven by Scott Buetow

Following on from this was the freestyle competition, in which each monster truck driver had the opportunity to show the judges their very best moves. From jumping over ramps and rolling effortlessly over cars, to pulling donuts in the mud and performing back flips off the side of a large metal container, the drivers had all kinds of tricks up their sleeves. 

Son-uva Digger, Monster Jam, Cardiff, 2016

Sun-uva Digger, driven by Ryan Anderson

Blue Thunder at Monster Jam Cardiff, 2016

Blue Thunder, driven by Tyler Menninga

Monster Mutt Dalmation at Monster Jam Cardiff 2016

Monster Mutt Dalmation, driven by Candice Jolly and Cynthia Gauthier

However, it didn’t quite go to plan for some of the drivers. The final monster truck to compete in the freestyle competition was Monster Jam World Champion, Grave Digger. The crowd got really excited when Grave Digger’s engine revved up ready for action, and I got the feeling that Son-uva Digger, the highest scorer up until this point, was about to be beaten. 

As you can see from the video below, Grave Digger went out with all guns blazing, determined to take the crown. Driver, Dennis Anderson even managed to land the truck after back-flipping off a ramp. However, confidence soon took over and the truck toppled over onto its back, with 20 seconds still left remaining on the clock.

This meant that the winner of Monster Jam’s freestyle contest was Son-uva Digger, driven by Ryan Anderson (Dennis’ son). You can catch Son-uva Digger’s stellar performance below. Although he also managed to flip his truck onto its back and cause a minor explosion, he won the overall contest because his stunts were deemed more impressive by the judges, earning him a total of 36 points.

I had a good time at Monster Jam; it was completely different to any kind of performance I’ve watched before, and some of the stunts were breathtaking to watch. I haven’t spent a day out with my father and brother in ages, so it was lovely to have some quality time together. 

However, the event didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The obstacle course was a little boring, consisting of several ramps, old cars and metal containers. There are only so many  different kinds of stunts that the monster trucks are capable of performing, and it can get a bit monotonous watching each truck pull wheelies and jump over ramps, over and over. In addition, the American commentator was rather dramatic and slightly irritating. So, while I enjoyed experiencing my first ever Monster Jam show and I would recommend it to others who haven’t been before, I probably wouldn’t go to watch Monster Jam again because I feel as though I’ve already seen it all, and I don’t think there would be anything new or exciting for me to see.

Do you like the sound of Monster Jam? Have you ever seen the monster trucks battle it out at a Monster Jam event? 

I was kindly given a complimentary family ticket for Monster Jam in Cardiff, in return for writing a pre-show and post-show blog post; however, I was not obliged to write a positive review of my experience. 

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