Of the nearly 75 drivers who compete in Monster Jam competitions, only 16 are female. And, of those few women, only 4 are moms. So in a male dominated sport like monster truck racing, how do the moms of Monster Jam hold their own? By winning.
Linsey Read is a mom of three who drives a Scooby-Doo monster truck — a replica of the cartoon character himself, complete with flapping ears and wagging tail. Read recently made history as the first mom to ever win a Monster Jam World Finals championship, taking home a trophy for her daring moves during the event's freestyle competition.
Read, who lives in Texas, says her daughters — 9 and 5-year-old stepdaughters and a 2-year-old of her own with husband and fellow Monster Jam competitor Jerrad Worhurst — are her inspiration for getting behind the wheel of Scooby-Doo.
"I want to go out there and do this for my daughters to show them we (women) can do it," Read told TODAY Parents in an interview at the Monster Jam World Finals in Orlando, Florida. "My mom is the one who pushed me to do this — I was nervous I wasn't going to be good enough and she gave me two tag-lines I still say to this day: She told me to dare to dream and to live without fear and that's what I do every single time I strap into that truck because being a female in this industry is hard ... we have to go out there and hold our own and show that we can do it."
Dawn Creten, a Kansas mom of four kids ranging in age from 19 to 8, has been a female in the monster truck industry for 20 years, traveling and competing alongside her husband, Jimmy Creten in trucks aptly named Bounty Hunter and Scarlet Bandit.
"Bounty Hunter's tagline is 'You can run, but you can't hide,'" Creten explained. "So I wanted something to correlate with that — Scarlet Bandit's is 'Catch me if you can.'"
Creten says when she began driving, attendees of her events were confused about her role.
"They'd always ask me, 'Are you singing the national anthem here?' And I'd say, 'Nope, I'm a driver,'" said Creten.
Creten has three daughters, and says she grew up wanting more than just marriage and a family. Because of that, she teaches her daughters to strive for more as well.
"My girls aren't afraid to do anything," said Creten. "I teach them it's important to do big things but to also stay a girl — keep the bling and keep the nails."
"The females (of Monster Jam) now are beautiful and strong women, but when I first started there were no females so I think everyone thought I'd come in pushing the truck or something," Creten joked.
As a part of her work with Monster Jam, Creten travels four days out of each week and drives Scarlet Bandit in 55 shows each year on average.
"I come back home for three days and get everything cleaned up and then I leave," said Creten, emphasizing that when she's not in the truck, her life is like every other mom's. "It gets destroyed and I come back and clean up again — it's like the movie 'Groundhog Day.'"
Creten says her kids may be strong and independent, but when it comes to Monster Jam, they'd prefer not to attend most of their parents' events.
"We have to make them come to shows because it's like taking your kids to work," said Creten. "They've often told me, 'Mom, you should get a job at the school or somewhere,' and it's not because they want me to work at the school — it's because they want me home."
Kayla Blood Granger, who drives a truck honoring members of the military called Soldier of Fortune, says her 7-year-old son loves his mom's role within Monster Jam.
"When he comes to my shows and I'm able to win and at the end of the night he gets to help bring out my trophy — it is the most heart-fulfilling thing," said Blood Granger. "I can't even explain the feeling of having him there and having him be a part of it."
Blood's husband, Blake Granger, also drives for Monster Jam, something Blood Granger says brings a little bit of competition to her marriage.
"We're a monster family — that's what we like to say now," said Blood Granger, who received an award for "best donut" at the Monster Jam World Finals. "It's always a battle between Max-D and Soldier of Fortune because that's what his dad drives...he wants Mommy and Dad to win so badly and if I can give him that, that's what I'm going to do every time."
Juliette Feld is chief operating officer of Feld Entertainment, the company that produces Monster Jam. Feld says bringing more mothers into the Monster Jam family has been a delight. And, the company hopes to add more females and mothers to their roster in the coming seasons.
"It's pretty awesome that we have moms that are a part of Monster Jam because a lot of our audience is moms," said Feld. "Our audience spans genders, generations and people of different ethnic and geographical diversity, so we're excited to be giving everyone in the family someone to root for."