Two UNOH Students Selected for Monster Jam Driving Experience

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2021


UNOH Students John Hartman and Autumn Ellingson

Two UNOH students are heading to Florida next month for the opportunity of a lifetime after being selected to train as Monster Jam® drivers as part of UNOH’s partnership with Monster Jam University.  All current UNOH students were given the chance to apply for a shot at driving a Monster Jam truck this fall as part of a two-day experience held at the home of Monster Jam, Feld Entertainment Studios, located in Palmetto, Florida.  Following the application deadline, the selection committee combed through all the applicants and chose Autumn Ellingson, from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and John Hartman from Florissant, Missouri. 

Autumn, a freshman Motorsports Marketing major, has experience racing dirt bikes, snowmobiles, go karts, and ATVs and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to drive a Monster Jam truck.  This past fall, she applied for and was chosen as one of the Monster Jam Freestyle Ride Truck™ drivers at Monster Jam Thunder Alley™, appearing at select Cedar Fair theme parks.  Now, Autumn will get the chance to drive a Monster Jam truck designed for flips and tricks rather than treating guests to a ride on a theme park track. When asked why she applied to train as a Monster Jam driver, Autumn wrote, “As an experienced dirt bike racer, I know the pressure of racing and the drive you need to win. I push myself and work harder to not just beat every rider on the track, but in everything I do. Already having experience operating a Monster Jam ride truck with rear steering as well as a good understanding of how the truck feels when moving over obstacles, I will be able to jump into the Monster Jam race truck with ease and confidence.”

John, a senior at UNOH who has already earned an Associate Degree in Automotive and High-Performance Motorsports Technology, is currently finishing up a Bachelor’s Degree in Specialized Studies with concentrations in Automotive Management and Marketing.  Like Autumn, John has many years of prior driving experience.  John has raced competitively in the motocross racing circuit for the past four years. Being able to control a two-wheeled bike 30-40 feet in the air is a skill that he says translates well into being able to drive a Monster Jam truck through jumps and tricks on the track. “Air control is such a huge part of being a competitive motocross driver,” said John. “If I don’t know how to navigate the jumps and turns at a track, I could easily crash and hurt myself or other drivers.  The skill set I learned from my years of racing should fit well into learning how to operate a 12,000-pound Monster Jam truck.”

Both Autumn and John will be taught under the watchful eyes of highly experienced Monster Jam drivers and technicians.  They will learn the skills needed to advance to the next level in the sport.  The challenging tracks created in Florida are designed to replicate the real Monster Jam on-track experience, giving novice and veteran athletes equal chances to excel. The unforgiving obstacles test the physical strength, mental stamina and dexterity it takes to pilot a Monster Jam truck.

In addition to their driving experience, they will get a chance to tour Feld Entertainment Studios, which is home to not only Monster Jam Global Headquarters but also a whole host of other out-of-this-world productions such as Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Disney On Ice, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Jurassic World Live Tour, and so much more.

Congratulations, Autumn and John!  We wish you both the best of luck!

Category: Campus & Community, Applied Technologies

Keywords: Monster Jam, High Performance

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Last updated: 11/09/2021