Monster Jam is one of the purported great ‘experiences’ Houston has to offer, so I duly accompanied grandchild, friend and a couple of parents to experience it. The venue was the very arena where the superbowl was held a week ago.
First we had to be prepared and take ear plugs and ear defenders (both). The vehicles involved have very noisy engines.
The event is America enjoying a day out en masse – the Coca Cola stands, pizza stands, ice cream, popcorn, donuts, hot dogs, all forms of junk food, giving the crowded outer concourse an appalling mixture of smells.
Inside you are one of the mass of tens of thousands of people, like a rather large UK football ground.
The ‘action’ consists of some rather peculiar vehicles with huge chassis, wheels, engine and steel cage for the driver, with an outer decorated car-like body that falls apart at the slightest provocation. These vehicles are driven over ramps and mounds to perform various feats of daring, sailing through the air, and often finishing up upside down.
- Most impressive were several backwards double somersaults.
- Most exciting were the races where two vehicles did the same circuit on opposite sides of the arena, with a final sail through the air over the finish line.
- Most incongruous was the description of the training facility for budding Monster drivers being named ‘Monster Jam University’. The founders of the original European universities might just have turned in their graves at this desecration of the word.
In the freelance driving competition two drivers were clearly better than the others and both achieved almost maximum points from the ‘judges’. Apparently some super-judge ruled one of them the winner, it seemed to me that this was because the driver was American, but maybe I got the wrong end of the stick.
Overall it was like watching big kids playing – a bit like a grown up skate or BMX park with noisy engines. But definitely an ‘experience’!
Oh and it took a good half hour to get out of the car park at the end.