She is right at home putting the 12,000-pound, 17-foot-long monster truck — with an engine that generates 1,500 horsepower — through its paces. Her fierceness is only matched by her name — Kayla Blood and, yes, that’s her real name.
Blood soon will be showcasing her driving prowess at the Wright State University Nutter Center behind the wheel of El Toro Loco as Monster Jam races into town for three shows Dec. 7-8.
Blood is one of a growing number of female Monster Jam drivers, as this tour also includes Lindsey Rettew (Master of Disaster), Dawn Creten (Scarlet Bandit) and Kristen Hope (Razin’ Kane).
“To be a woman in this sport, you’ve got to be tough, have a thick skin,” Blood said. “You also need to earn the respect of the other drivers. You want to be good at what you’re doing.”
Blood also has earned the respect of some younger fans — namely her 6-year-old son, Austin, and his friends.
“Austin loves it, Monster Jam is like second nature to him,” she said. “And it’s kind of fun to be the cool mom.”
Family fun is what the adrenaline-charged, high-flying, Monster Jam events are all about. From the precise maneuverability of the races to the crowd-pleasing freestyle competition, fans enjoy the complete Monster Jam experience.
“The best part of being in an arena is that you are really close to the fans,” Blood said. “The kids love when El Toro Loco blows smoke, it’s fun to interact with them and see them with their horns up.”
Blood, 28, got her start racing ATVs. She made an impression on the Monster Jam staff and was soon offered the chance to test drive a Monster Jam truck. The rest is history as she has toured for the past two years. Monster Jam has become a family affair as her husband, Blake Granger, will soon be driving Maximum Destruction full time.
“I would also like for our son to be involved in motorsports someday,” she said.
The Dayton Monster Jam shows will include fan favorite Grave Digger in the field of talented drivers. Fans can get in on the act as, following the racing, they have the chance to vote for the truck winner in the freestyle competition by real-time, in-arena voting on their smartphones.
HOW TO GO
Where: Wright State University Nutter Center
When: Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. (pre-event Pit Party at 10:30 a.m.) and 7 p.m.
Tickets: Start at $15, available at www.monsterjam.com or the Nutter Center box office.
More: Dayton is one of a select number of cities offering the limited-edition Monster Jam beanie from Love Your Melon, an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer and supporting the fight against pediatric cancer. Monster Jam Love Your Melon beanies are only available with an advance Monster Jam ticket purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets and the limited-edition beanie, visit the Dayton ticket link at http://www.monsterjam.com/loveyourmelon.
SCHEDULED TRUCKS AND DRIVERS
Grave Digger – Tyler Menninga
El Toro Loco – Kayla Blood
Master of Disaster – Lindsey Rettew
Bounty Hunter – Jimmy Creten
FTI Torque – Jack Brown
Razin’ Kane – Kristen Hope
Scarlet Bandit – Dawn Creten
Stinger Unleashed – Zane Rettew