In the spirit of yesterday's celebration of International Women's Day, Genuine Joy contributor Candace Dold shares her conversation with Becky McDonough -- a female driver in the male dominated sport of Monster Jam.
I have to be honest with you. I've always heard a lot about Monster Jam and the loyal fans of the sport, but before this year, I had never been to a show. I received a pitch to interview a female driver live on FOX45 Morning News and I was immediately intrigued by the segment idea. Her name is Becky McDonough and she has earned 1 Monster Jam World Finals Title and has racked up 12 total appearances. Becky walked into the FOX45 studio and I instantly had respect for her. Becky is one of the few women in the sport, but she holds her own. She began competing in 2010 and it's been a long road to get to where she is today. She went through the necessary technician training to land a job working on Monster Jam trucks and became the first ever female Crew Chief in Monster Jam. She worked diligently to to learn that part of the craft, but still, she wanted more. Becky wanted to be a driver. She finally earned the opportunity and competed in Costa Rica in 2010 behind the wheel of "Donkey Kong". She impressed many in the sport and ultimately landed the full time position as a driver. She is now part of the team "El Toro Loco."
As we sat down for my interview, Becky told me she liked my high heels with sparkles and lace. I told her I liked her flat boots. They looked comfortable! She admitted she's all about comfort and while she is proud to be one of a few females in the sport, she could NEVER walk in my heels.
The red studio light signaled we were on air, I introduced Becky and asked, "What's it like as a female in this sport?"
"It was a dream of mine since the 9th grade," she tells me, "but I was always told it's a man's world, you can't do it. You're a girl. It was just one of those things that I wanted and I knew I needed and I had to do this to prove to myself and everybody that if it's something you really want, you can do it. So, it's been great." She continued "I started out working on a truck so a lot of the guys didn't take me seriously. I was a 19 year old girl be-bopping in, saying that I loved Monster Trucks, so no one took me seriously. It was one of those things where I had to earn the respect. Now, 9 years later, I am now a driver and I'm still in it."
I later asked her about the physical toll of the sport. She said, "It is a beating for sure especially out there on the 4 Wheelers and our arms are constantly going in the trucks and speedsters, it definitely is a beating, but we have had the physical training and we get up and go to the gym together, we try to keep each other in check on how we are eating during the show and staying hydrated. It definitely is a beating but that's why we are the younger, newer Monster Jam!" She tells me it is demanding, but she feeds off the energy of the crowd. Becky says, "The adrenaline is through the roof. I cannot honestly compare it to anything I have ever done or could even imagine doing. There's so much energy at a show between the fans on their feet hooping and hollering and the energy of the trucks. I mean its just unreal. That's what made me fall in love with the sport."
After that interview, I knew I had to go to the show and I took my 4 year old daughter with me. I admit -- there's nothing like it. Becky won one of the events that night. She wanted to come out on top and she did. Becky beat out the boys. I turned to my daughter and said, "See, girls can prove their strength with a lot of hard work and practice."
Rock on, Becky! Thanks for the interview, the thrill and the life lesson I was able to teach my daughter at, of all places, a Monster Jam Truck Rally.
Click on the link to see my on-camera interview with Becky.