(Photos by amNewYork senior photographer RJ Mickelson)
For New Yorkers, the deafening grind of 10,000-pound trucks popping wheelies atop smash cars brought in from local junkyards may be an unfamiliar onslaught on the senses.
But that’s just what the intensely fan-oriented sport promises spectators this weekend at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., with three editions of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Freestyle Mania event Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).
Most fans wear protective earmuffs as favorite behemoths such as Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction and Spider-Man roar through arenas. Monster Jam also throws Pit Parties before shows to give fans extra access to the drivers and their machines.
“I think we recognize the fans more than any other sport,” said Grave Digger pilot Gary Porter, who began with his own truck, the Carolina Crusher, in 1985.
“We’ve never forgotten where we come from. We were just a bunch of old poor folks — country boys — having fun with our four-wheel-drive trucks, and turning them into monster trucks.
“We never dreamed of such a thing,” the 49-year-old Porter said of his longevity as a professional driver. “We always have to remember why, and that’s because of the fans.”
amNewYork senior photographer Rj Mickelson turned his lens on the wreckers and their wreckage this past weekend at Nassau Coliseum.