Hot Wheels Monster Trucks roll into the Valley

Christian Norman evolved from sitting in a fan’s seat to the driver’s seat — of a 10-foot high and 12-foot wide monster truck.

As a Hot Wheels Monster Truck driver, steering the gigantic automobiles has been a dream of his since long before he could see above a dashboard.

The Florida native remembers how wonderstruck he was while watching Bigfoot, the famed monster truck, on television at age 4.

“I was just absolutely infatuated and hooked on monster trucks from then on,” he said.
Adoration for monster trucks ran in the family, being that he watched them on TV with his younger brother Philip, father and grandmother.

“We would name each other different monster trucks,” he said. “Dad was Bigfoot, I was the Carolina Crusher and Philip was Tuff E’Nuff.”

Norman added that since then, driving monster trucks has been his one and only goal.

“Through grade school and high school, people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up,” he recalled. “I would say I wanted to be a monster truck driver, and they would stop, laugh, then say, ‘No really, what do you really want to do.’

“Then I would say again: ‘I want to be a monster truck driver; I want to drive monster trucks.’”

And his determination drove him to the action-packed career he has now.

Norman has been professionally driving monster trucks since 2017, starting with the Bounty Hunter. Now under Hot Wheels, he drives Hot Wheels Racing 1, a menacing 11,000-pound truck that will be featured at the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live show at the Bert Ogden arena this weekend.

Throughout the gas-powered event, six monster trucks — Hot Wheels Racing 1, Bigfoot, Demo Derby, Tiger Shark, Bone Shaker and V8 Bomber — three FMX motorcycle riders and one “fire-breathing, totally sick” megasaurus will be featured.

“The megasaurus transformer comes out, and it breathes out fire and picks up a car and eats it,” Norman said, excitedly. “It literally eats it and rips in half and then drops it to the ground.”

By the end of the show, 12 cars and a van will be crushed.

“We pancake them — every single car that you see when you walk in will be unrecognizable by the end,” Norman said.

Monster trucks can go up to 30 miles per hour in the confined area, jumping up to about 20 feet high in the air, while the FMX riders will be performing all kinds of tricks: backflips, can-cans, supermans and more.

There is just one way he could describe the feeling of driving a monster truck: “It’s like you are in control of your own rollercoaster. You are in control of your own G-forces, you are steering, hitting the breaks, pushing gas, shift hanging, paying attention to gages — everything.”

An hour before the show, attendees will be invited to the floor for a Crash Zone Party, where they will be able to meet drivers and look at the monster trucks up close. Each Hot Wheels monster truck has been made into a toy, and Norman said that he is always excited when kids — and sometimes adults — ask him to sign it.

“They (the monster trucks) are just the wackiest, craziest and most awesome looking, and they look just like the toys — that’s the magic of Hot Wheels.” Norman said.

“Whenever a kid comes up to me and has the toy in hand, then sees the actual truck behind me and meets the actual driver of the truck, they are just stunned.”

He said that to this day, he still collects Hot Wheel toys.

“This was my childhood dream, I did not stop until I got here,” Norman said. “I was so determined and knew that someday, all the hard work was going to pay off.”

For seven years before being offered the opportunity to drive, Norman was a crew chief. Responsible for the behind the scenes actions, he did so with an optimistic attitude.

“I did what I could to get my foot in the door,” he said about when he was 20 years old. “I would go with other monster truck teams and just ask, ‘Can I help you wipe the truck down, can I move tires? I just wanted to learn and get my hands dirty.”

Norman now watches the show from the inside of his monster truck.

“It is such a family friendly show, for all ages,” he said. “I look up at the stands every time we do a show, and I see that the parents are standing and screaming right alongside the kids. Over the engine of the truck and through my helmet, I can hear everyone screaming and cheering.”

And the audience’s excitement is what Norman takes energy from.

“The crazier, happier and wilder the fans get, the more crazier and wild I get,” he said. “When they are whooping and hollering and screaming out there, waving their flags, that gets me going.

“That’s what drives me to drive harder, to drive faster and aim higher.”