Being a world champion monster truck driver isn’t easy, but for “Grave Digger: The Legend” driver Adam Anderson, it’s in his blood.
He and his brother Ryan are following in the footsteps of their father Dennis Anderson, the original driver of the famous “Grave Digger.” Adam Anderson will be proving that he’s as good as his dad, if not better, at the Monster Jam show at the Superdome on Saturday.
He started driving monster trucks back in 2005, and only three years later, he took home a Monster Jam World Championship in the freestyle event, becoming the youngest driver to do so. He went on to win his second World Finals, this time in racing, in 2013.
“I was one of the youngest guys in the sport at the time when I won, and most of the guys competing in the event had been in the sport 10 years or more and here I was. … I’d grown up around it, but to come out and beat those guys I’d always looked up to, man, it was awesome to me,” Anderson said.
The motorized mayhem that Adam and his brother used to entertain themselves with wasn’t just child’s play; it was practice.
“We drove anything and everything,” he said. “It didn’t matter what it was. We used to drag each other behind four wheelers on Power Wheels and run each other into jumps. … We made a lot of mistakes and broke bones as kids doing all that stuff, and it’s made us better drivers for sure.”
They also learned from watching their dad, though they didn’t always agree with his technique.
“We did critique him, very much so, when we were kids, and he was always mad at us because he would go so hard and he would always break his truck,” Anderson said. “We would tell him, ‘You should slow down, Dad! You’d win. You’d beat the other guy.’
“He’d be so far ahead, but then he would crash or something would break … not that we don’t make mistakes, but we’ve learned from the mistakes he’s made for sure.”
The Anderson drivers don’t usually have to go wheel-to-wheel, but when they do, they don’t take it easy on one another.
“It’s very rare that we’re at an event together … but if we race each other, we want to beat each other, and if we don’t make it through the rounds or whatever we’re always rooting for the other family member to win and take everyone else out,” Adam Anderson said.
Anderson admitted that the scariest thing about monster trucks isn’t bitter defeat but not getting to compete at all.
“The (audience) understands that when you jump the truck and all the tires fall off that it’s broken, but if you pull out on the floor and the truck just cuts off or you lose steering, it’s because of something so simple, so minute, it’s embarrassing. That’s the biggest fear that most drivers have.”
Despite the tightrope act that is getting these giant trucks to run in the first place, Anderson knows that even when things go wrong, the fans still expect a show. In times like these, it pays to follow Dad’s advice and go hard or go home.
“We know that we’ve come there to put on a show for the fans, and we’ve got a week to recover,” he said. “We’ll just let it rip, no matter what.”
Monster Jam comes to the Superdome on Saturday. The show starts at 7 p.m. but the Party in the Pits, which gives families a chance to meet the drivers, runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For information about the show, visit www.monsterjam.com. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.