Mon­ster Jam Trucks Rum­ble into Bal­ti­more

Rum­bles back into Bal­ti­more

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By LISA HAR­LOW

Mary­land na­tive Matt Cody will drive Thun­der

Let’s get ready to rum­ble! Cel­e­brat­ing 25 years of mon­ster truck en­ter­tain­ment, the Mon­ster Jam Triple Threat Cen­tral Se­ries pre­sented by AMSOIL re­turns to the Royal Farms Arena Fri­day – Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 24 -26.

Mon­ster Jam driv­ers will com­pete in both rac­ing and freestyle com­pe­ti­tions at the Arena. Trucks sched­uled to ap­pear are Grave Dig­ger driven by Krys­ten An­der­son, El Toro Loco with driver Ar

mando Cas­tro, Pi­rate’s Curse with Cam­den Mur­phy, Alien In­va­sion driven by Bernard Lyght, Zom­bie with driver Ami Houde and Mon­ster Mutt Rot­tweiler driven by JR Seasock.

Two other no­table trucks in­clude a new for 2017 mon­ster truck, Me­ga­lodon, driven by for­mer Su­per­cross rider Justin Sipes, and Blue Thun­der, driven by Williamsport, Mary­land’s Matt Cody.

Cody, whose home­town is just out­side of Hagerstown where he grew up at­tend­ing Mon­ster Jam events at the Hagerstown Speed­way, started com­pet­ing in Mon­ster Jam in 2014, but his ca­reer in mon­ster trucks be­gan much ear­lier.

“I started at the bot­tom. I got hooked up with lo­cal Hall of Famer Mike Vaters with Black Stal­lion in eighth grade. I went to all of the sum­mer shows help­ing out as a crew chief. Mike taught me a lot,” said Cody, 24.

“Then in 2012 I got my first op­por­tu­nity to drive Iron War­rior. It was on from there,” he said. “I drove a few more times in 2013 and I went full time in the truck in 2014. Then that Oc­to­ber, I drove in my First Mon­ster Jam show in Black Stal­lion in Philadel­phia.”

Cody’s fa­vorite part about com­pet­ing in Mon­ster Jam is the fans. “I went to my first show when I was two, and I have loved go­ing ever since. I know what it’s like to sit in the stands. I know what the au­di­ence wants to see,” he said. “I like to travel to the East Coast a lot be­cause I have a fan base there.”

In ad­di­tion to driv­ing Blue Thun­der at the events, Cody him­self drives the trac­tor trailer that car­ries the truck (along with Mon­ster Mutt) to all the shows, and he han­dles re­pairs and body work, not typ­i­cal of a Mon­ster Jam driver. He trav­els ev­ery week­end for Mon­ster Jam events.

“I am al­ways mak­ing great mem­o­ries ev­ery week­end. We stay up late and have fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “But I would say the first time I ac­tu­ally strapped in to a Mon­ster Jam truck is my fa­vorite mem­ory.”

Cody de­scribes his driv­ing style as “fast and wild but al­ways in con­trol. It will have you on the edge-of-yourseat.”

His goal is to get to the Mon­ster Jam World Fi­nals in Las Ve­gas in March, the Su­per Bowl of the rac­ing world. Cody at­tended the event in 2015 and re­ceived the Arena Wheelie of the Year award.

His ad­vice would you give to kids who want to be­come a Mon­ster Jam driver?: “Fin­ish school, stick with your dreams and never give up.”

Fans who are in­ter­ested in check­ing out Cody’s Blue Thun­der and some of the other trucks up close and per­sonal can also pur­chase tick­ets to the pit party, which will be held Satur­day and Sun­day be­gin­ning at 10:30 a.m. And if you’ve never been to a Mon­ster Jam event, Cody says you will not be dis­ap­pointed.

“It’s ex­cite­ment from the minute you walk in the door un­til the minute you leave,” he said.

And now fans can have an even big­ger role in the com­pe­ti­tion as they can join the panel of judges with­out leav­ing their seats just by go­ing to www.judg- es­ on their mo­bile de­vice.

Fans at the show will be pro­vided with a three-let­ter code, and dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, they can sub­mit scores for the Mon­ster Jam trucks af­ter each per­for­mance as part of the new “Judges Zone.” Mon­ster Jam Triple Threat Cen­tral Se­ries

Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 24 at 7 p.m.

Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 25 at 1 p.m. (Pit Party 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.)

Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 25 at 7 p.m.

Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 26 at 1 p.m. (Pit Party 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.)

Royal Farms Arena, 201 W Bal­ti­more St, Bal­ti­more, MD 21201

Mon­ster Jam tick­ets start at $15, and Pit Passes are an ad­di­tional $10 per per­son. For tick­ets or more in­for­ma­tion, go to https://www. mon­ster­jam. com/ en- US/ events/bal­ti­more-md-0.

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