Monster Truck Champ Nicole Johnson Is The Reason We Now Give A Damn About The Sport

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Just when we never ever thought we’d be writing an article about Monster Trucks on GirlTalkHQ, we discover Nicole Johnson, and yep, just like that, we all of a sudden give a damn!

But seriously, we do, because anytime a woman is infiltrating a previously (or currently) male-dominated arena it is worth taking notice of because the representation of even one woman can open the floodgates and create equality for other women in her wake.

According to a recent interview with Vice news, Nicole is a wife, mother of two, Mormon (which she credits as giving her the desire to stay family-oriented and be a good example to others) college graduate, and has been in the world of Monster Trucks for 20 years. In 2012 she started driving the Warner Brothers’ sponsored Scooby Doo Monster Jam Truck which has become her signature now. She has won numerous awards throughout her career, the most recent in 2014 was for becoming only the 2nd woman in Monster Jam history to land a back flip in a Monster Jam Truck. She is also the female with the most amount of title wins in a single season which happened in 2011, her rookie year.

Her love of action vehicles started in 1993 when she married her husband Frank and they began off-roading together. They still go camping and four-wheeling as a family. Basically this woman is living the life! She gets to do what she loves every day either with her family as recreation or in the arena as a job.

The first monster truck show she competed in, she won. It was a good indication of what was to come for Nicole and showed she was definitely on the right path!

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Vice asked her about safety (they have seats similar to NASCAR drivers that ensure top of the line safety mechanisms) and what her kids think of what she does (they are used to it and consider it “another day at the office”) and which cartoon character other than Scooby Doo she would like to have her truck shaped like (wonder woman, duh!). But the most interesting stuff to us was her take on being a female in a very testosterone-laden industry.

There aren’t a whole lot of other females in the Monster Truck game and they don’t often get to compete in the same rallies.

“with only something like eight female drivers, we get spread out because we’re kind of a novelty. We don’t always get to see each other. Often we don’t see each other all year long. Of course we all want each other to do well because like it or not, we’re all being judged as a group of females. When one of us performs well, it makes us all look better. But when I’m out there with the guys, I just feel like one of the guys,” she said.

Apparently having mothers as drivers is seen as some sort of a novelty drawcard, to which Nicole responds she doesn’t see it that way, especially considering she has been doing it for so long, and when she is out there competing she just feels like part of the guys.

“I think that the perception from the fans is that. So when we have the parties where all of the trucks are on display, and all the drivers are posing for photos and signing autographs, I tend to have longer lines than some of the guys. I feel like it’s the perception of the fans, like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a girl driver, I have to go see this for myself.’ I still have people that’ll get in my line for autographs, and then come up to me and go, ‘Wait, you drive this thing? You’re not the driver, right?’ I hate to use the word model, but they’ll be like ‘Are you just the model?’ and I’m like, ‘No!'”

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Surprisingly, she says she hasn’t experienced much sexism from fans, instead Nicole loves that she is seen as a role model to young girls who see her as someone they can look up to.

“When they notice that there’s a female they go, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect that.’ Or they’ll be super excited. When young girls, teenage girls, and their moms realize that I’m a girl, maybe after the show, during post-show autographs, that’s when they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be you,’ or ‘I didn’t realize that there was a girl out there, you’re my hero.’ I hear it all the time, and it’s amazing,” she said.

“It’s amazing that I suddenly gave them something that they can look up to, someone that they can root for. Picture a 14-year-old girl who’s never been to Monster Jam, and she’s there with her family—maybe she’s just there for her little brother to have fun, maybe she’s rolling her eyes a little. And then she sees a girl driver and all of a sudden, I’m her hero.”

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In another interview with Westword.com in 2013 she talks about being a positive role model not just within the sport and for her sponsors, but also for the fans watching. She often gets asked how to get into Monster Truck driving and her advice extends to aspiration beyond the dirt arenas she competes in.

“Little girls are always asking me how I do this. And I really think whatever you want to do — it doesn’t have to be a monster-truck driver — the same principles will apply. With any job you’re in, you’re only going to get a promotion if you’re doing the best job you can and you’re representing yourself in a respectable manner. Putting your head down, working hard and doing the best you can is going to get you wherever you need to go, no matter the job or accomplishment you’re seeking,” she said.

Great advice and we love seeing this bold, badass and fearless mom getting her Monster Truck Jam on with the best of the best and showing the world there is no place for gender stereotypes anymore!

You can follow all of Nicole’s adventures in the arena on her Facebook Page, boasting over 130,000 fans. We think we may have found our new spirit animal!

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  1. Pingback: Get To Know These Five Kickass Inspiring Female Athletes In Action Sports

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