5 Questions with monster truck driver Allison Patrick
WANT TO GO?
WHERE: Charleston Civic Center
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Advance tickets, adults from $26.50 to $51.75. Children from $5 to $51.75. Day of the show all tickets increase by $2.
INFO: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Monster Jam, the touring monster truck rally, returns to the Charleston Civic Center with roaring engines, spinning tires and the squeal of crushing metal this weekend.
Allison Patrick is part of a very select club. Not only is she one of the few people who can say that she's a professional monster truck driver; she's also one of the few women to ever get to sit behind the wheel.
The Gazz spoke to Patrick about driving the 10,000-pound, 1500-horsepower not-at-all-girlie monster truck named Samson and whether there is room in the monster truck world for more women.
Q: There doesn't seem to be a lot of women involved with monster trucks or even Monster Jam for that matter. How did you get into this?
A: "I grew up in it. My dad has had a truck since I was 3 years old, and I don't see the life as any different.
My dad is 57. He was one of the older drivers and has been around forever, but he decided maybe he'd give me a shot at driving and see how I'd do."
Q: How did your dad get into monster trucks?
A: "He started in tractor pulls in high school and progressed to funny cars and then into monsters in the early days of the sport. This was back when monster trucks would pull sleds at tractor pulls -- that's how he got started. He worked with Bigfoot [an early monster truck superstar] and then branched on his own.
"We've had our truck, Samson, for 25 years."
Q: How long have you been at this?
A: "Charleston will be my third weekend. My debut was two weeks ago in Milwaukee. We were in Louisville, Ken., last week and this week is Charleston."
Q: Three weeks? What were you doing before?
A: "Well, I'm an ICU nurse. I still am.
"When I got out of high school, driving the truck was never really an option. It was dad's truck and dad was the driver. So I did my own thing, went to college and became a nurse. I've been a nurse now for four years.
"I still work full time--three 12-hour shifts Monday through Wednesday. Thursday we travel to the show for the weekend and get back Sunday night.
"I'm pretty tired sometimes, but it's worth it."
Q: As I mentioned before, there don't seem to be a lot of women in monster trucks. Is it a field you think women can easily be a part of?
A: "Absolutely. When it first started, there were just a handful of women, but more and more women are getting involved -- and everyone has been great to me. It's like a huge family. There's been no one telling me I'm not going to do very good.
"What's been great for me has been some of the guys I grew up watching, now they call me or my dad after each show to talk, to see how I'm doing. To me, that's the most amazing thing in the world."
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.