Freestyle, in Monster Truck competition, is an event where the goal is to perform tricks and stunts with the truck in order to demonstrate driver skill and truck capability. Some freestyle events are judged competitions, while others are merely exhibitions. The first monster truck ever built was a pickup truck that was modified with a larger suspension and larger tires.
Here’s what happens. Each monster truck driver takes his or her truck through the course, smashing their way around—and through—obstacles. These obstacles can be anything from a dirt jump to a bus or camping caravan. Each Monster Jam driver must entertain the masses, out-performing their competition and impressing the freestyle judges. Judges then score the Monster Jam trucks on a scale of 1 to 10. Here are the criteria used to determine each driver’s score:
- Number and variety of tricks
- How many obstacles are hit
- The height, length, and vertical of each jump
- Number of donuts
- Reversing into obstacles
- Amount of spectacular stunts
- Number of “saves,” during which a driver gets a truck out of a situation where it might crash
- Sky wheelies
- Number of combinations
And these are the tricks performed on the course which wins over the audiences.
Backflip – When the truck does a complete 360-degree flip from a vertical obstacle.
Big Air – Monster Jam trucks can launch up to 30 feet into the air and travel more than 130 feet. Prepare for lift-off!
Donut – Spinning a Monster Jam truck in circles in one spot.
Cyclone – Similar to a Donut, but done at a higher speed.
Pogo – The Monster Jam truck bounces on the rear tires while standing up into a wheelie.
Power Out – When a driver uses a burst of acceleration to keep the truck from rolling over.
Sky Wheelie – When a Monster Jam truck stands straight up at a 90-degree angle with the front tires in the air.
Slap Wheelie – When the front of the Monster Jam truck comes down and slaps itself back into a wheelie.
Stoppie – When the truck noses onto its front wheels, leaving the rear wheels in the air. Many drivers will put the truck in reverse and “moonwalk” it.
Walk It – A one-wheeled wheelie that rocks back and forth between the two rear tires.
Wheelie – Lifting the front wheels of the truck off the ground and driving only on the rear wheels.
As much fun it is to watch, a lot of care has to be taken to avoid accidents. So, don’t try them without precautions.