Even the Monster Jam driver in the truck with the word “Loco” in its name knows to slow down when snow and ice make the roads slippery — unlike too many other Minnesotans on the roads this week.
I caught up with Becky McDonough, the monster truck driver of El Toro Loco (the Crazy Bull), at Fox 9 Wednesday. McDonough was at the TV station to promote Saturday’s Monster Jam at U.S. Bank Stadium, where people can see her flame-colored wheels. That paint job looks like the inspiration for the hair color you’ll see in the video.
The Brainerd native won her first stadium freestyle event in 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium and is back for more.
McDonough was apparently rolled over when she got to meet the only other person I have interviewed about monster truckin’, the now-retired Madusa, the former “Queen of Carnage” who hails from Robbinsdale. When interviewed in 2012, Madusa told me about her less-than-welcoming work environment.
“I did not get any of these guys’ respect at all until I won two championships,” Madusa said. “Sounds like a song. Before that, it was chaos. I’d come to the arena in the morning and my tires would be flat. They thought that was funny. Little did they know, they made me stronger. They made me come back with a vengeance. Boys don’t play nice. No, they don’t. They don’t like it when a woman beats them at a race or freestyle.”
From what McDonough told me, the boys are maturing.
Q: Do you have to have hair that color to drive a monster truck?
A: [Laughter] No. It just happens to work out that it matches perfectly.
Q: When did you get hair that color?
A: Probably two years after [starting to drive]. I always had black hair. Then I put red streaks in it and I always wanted to go bright red. But I didn’t know. Some people can’t pull it off. I just went for it one day and it kind of stuck.
Q: When did you decide to drive monster trucks?
A: Back in the ninth grade. Came to the Metrodome and totally fell in love with monster trucks.
Q: Who’s the famous lady who used to drive monster trucks?
A: Becky McDonough. [Straight face, followed by laughs] Madusa. That was the one that I contacted. I was like, “I think it’s so rad, what you do. I think it’s so inspiring. I want to be like you someday.” She just retired a couple of years ago. It was really cool I actually got to race her a couple of times.
Q: When would your mother say the daredevil in you appeared?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know if she would even say I was a daredevil. I think it’s just an adrenaline rush. It’s not that dangerous out there. I don’t feel like really a daredevil at all.
Q: In real life are you a civilized driver?
A: No. Not at all. [Laugh and beautiful smile]
Q: How many tickets do you have?
A: Oh, we don’t need to talk about that. [Still smiling, laughing] I’m safe but not civilized.
Q: Would you know to slow down on a day like today when it’s slippery? Apparently a lot of Minnesotans don’t know you need to slow down.
A: Yeah. For sure. That’s just a given.
Q: Is there anybody you take particular joy in going after when you are out there?
A: Not really. It’s always fun. I’ve grown up with a lot of these guys. A lot of them are like brothers to me.
Q: And they are treating you well?
A: Of course.
Q: They weren’t always nice to Madusa, as I recall.
A: It was a little bit different coming into the sport from the mechanics side. I definitely had to prove myself and gain their respect. Over the course of the years, I definitely have.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on FOX 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.