WANT TO GO?
WHERE: Charleston Civic Center
WHEN: 7:30 Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
TICKETS: $25, $30 and $50, children (2-12) $5
INFO: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com
NOTE: A Pit Party pre-show runs 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday; adults $10, children $5 (2 p.m. show ticket required).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The big, loud, mud-flinging machines coming to this weekend's Monster Jam at the Charleston Civic Center seem sort of dangerous and maybe should come out of the factory with some kind of sticker on them.
"Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that driving a monster truck is hazardous to your health."
Aaron Basl, the driver of Wolverine, just laughed.
"You'd think so," he said, "but I tell people these trucks are safe. These trucks are built for what we do. There's way more safety that goes into everything."
He listed a variety of safety features: driveline safety equipment, tethers to keep the wheels from going anywhere, an on-board fire suppression system and fire suits for all drivers.
"I tell people you're probably safer in one of these things than just driving down the freeway," Basl said. "You know what the truck is built for and what it can handle. You know the guys around you aren't purposely trying run into you.
"Going down the freeway? You don't know what the guy next to you is going to do."
The 33-year-old has been a monster truck driver for about 12 years. He and his twin brother, Daron, who drives Gravedigger, got their start in monster trucks through truck and tractor pulls.
Their family built two-wheel drive tractor pulls as a hobby and a diversion from the chores on their farm in Oregon. They took their tractor pulls out to local events and festivals.
"There were always two or three monster trucks there," he said. "And in our part of the show we'd get to do a little encore freestyle."
The brothers also got to talk to the monster truck drivers and crews. They asked the same basic questions over and over: how do you get into the business? What does it take to crew on a team? How do you become a monster truck driver?