‘Girl power’ fuels Monster Jam racing series headed for Wilkes-Barre Township
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Monster Jam driver Collette Davis saw the “Wonder Woman” movie when it first came out last year and loved it, especially the choreographed scenes of Amazons leaping from shields, shooting three arrows at a time and otherwise showing themselves to be superb athletes.
“So much girl power!” Davis said. “It was awesome!”
Davis, 24, makes her own contribution to inspiring young women as she drives the “Wonder Woman” truck in arenas across the country, makes the vehicle do vertical “handstands,” and meets fans at accompanying pit parties.
“I’ve even had a father bring a daughter up. She had to meet me in person to believe girls can drive,” Davis said. “Who knows how it’s going to shape her future going forward?”
Davis will be among eight drivers fans can expect to see if they attend Monster Jam at the Mohegan Sun Arena Feb. 9 to 11. Other competitors include Brandon Vinson in Grave Digger, Jared Eichelberger in Max D, Mark List in El Toro Loco, Ami Houde in Zombie, Justin Sipes in Megalodon, Matt Cody in Blue Thunder and Cory Snyder in Monster Mutt Rottweiler.
You’ll notice the male drivers outnumber the females, 3 to 1, but that wouldn’t make Davis shy away.
“I’ve grown up in multiple male-dominated industries,” she said in a telephone interview. “I started racing in go-karts at 14 and knew I wanted to be a professional. I graduated (from high school) at 15 and got a scholarship to go to Embry-Riddle (Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.) My engineering background helps make me a better driver,” she said, adding she then transferred to Draper University’s entrepreneurship program in San Francisco because she knew she wanted “to treat my career like a business.”
Before she was heading off to universities, the self -described Army brat attended many schools as her family moved from state to state. She remembers trying out for football with the idea of becoming a running back — and maybe breaking some boundaries.
“I thought by trying out I could get a bunch of other girls to try out with me,” she said, adding that didn’t work out as she had hoped.
That football team didn’t become co-ed, but Davis had many other projects that kept her occupied.
“My parents never made me feel I couldn’t or shouldn’t do any certain thing,” she said. “If I wanted to get an electrical kit and start building a little motor for a science project, they supported me in that.”
Davis’ mechanical ability helps her with Monster Jam driving, she said.
“You have to know where every corner of your truck is and know how to regulate throttle really, really well. It’s taken me a while to learn all these neat tricks, but the things we’re doing on two wheels are just incredible.”
The Monster Jam show is physically demanding, Davis said.
“We are not only racing and competing; we are sprinting back and forth because it’s a Triple Threat Series, so we compete in three different vehicles — Monster truck, ATV and Monster Jam speedster.”
All in all, it’s a great show, she enthused, promising it will entertain “all ages, from 8 to 80.”
“If you haven’t ever seen a Monster Jam, you’ve got to come out,” she said. “It is just a mind-blowing experience.”
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT.
IF YOU GO
What: Monster Jam
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 9, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 10, 1 p.m. Feb. 11
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township
Additional information: Tickets start at $15 and are available at ticketmaster.com and by phone at 800-745-3000.