Returning to Glendale to compete in Monster Jam is especially exciting for the Great Clips Mohawk Warrior driver, Bryce Kenny.
“Glendale is the biggest floor we run on,” Kenny says.
“I like coming out to Arizona because it enables us to go our fastest speeds, do the coolest tricks, and have the craziest crashes.”
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Monster Jam, Kenny and 11 other athletes will compete for the championship title on Saturday, October 1, at State Farm Stadium.
Unlike many monster truck drivers, Kenny isn’t following in a family member’s footsteps. Finding an interest in drag racing and then moving into corporate America, Kenny wanted more.
Grave Digger driver Morgan Kane introduced Kenny to the monster truck world when they met playing soccer in college. After leaving his previous positions, Monster Jam contacted Kenny and asked if he would attend Monster Jam University.
“When they asked me, I was like, ‘What is that?’” Kenny says. He then confirmed that yes, it’s a real place, and it’s not like “Monsters University,” the 2013 animated film.
“That all snowballed to now, I’m in my seventh season, getting to do this for a living,” he says.
His favorite thing about the job is working with his nonprofit has been working with his nonprofit, Live Like Warriors, livelikewarriors.com.
“I’ve had this privilege of being the Great Clips Mohawk Warrior, and so I get to wear the title of warrior on my chest. Because of this I’ve gotten to meet a lot of real-life warriors,” he says.
His heart opened to service about six years ago after he met a young Monster Jam fan. The boy’s hair started falling out due to chemotherapy. He told his parents, “Before I have to cut all of my hair, can we shave it into a mohawk because I want to be like the Mohawk Warrior?”
“You can’t experience that and your heart not explode,” says Kenny, getting choked up.
“These young kids have chosen to fight through these really tough battles, and it’s so inspiring to me.”
Kenny hopes to inspire others to keep fighting their battles.
“I want to be a megaphone for these kids whose stories deserve to be heard,” he says.
He also aims to develop servant hearts within his children. “I think if I can get them to understand the value of servant leadership, I will have done my job as a dad. We’re doing this together as a family,” Kenny says.
As a family man, it’s important to Kenny that his daughter feels represented. Monster Jam does it right when it comes to equality, he describes.
“Whether it’s regarding race, gender, religion … no matter who is in the audience, we want them to know that they can be out here, too. Doesn’t matter background color, age, gender, anyone can do it,” he adds.
“My daughter likes Monster Jam because dad does it. But, when she’s at the events, she’s all about it. It’s amazing getting to see men and women competing at the same level, with the same equipment. Me and my family were at a local race recently and there was a driver named Amber. When it started, my daughter asked me who the girl driver was, and it turned out that’s who my daughter was cheering for.”
Kenny says it’s important that his daughter knows she can compete with the boys. Whether it be riding horseback, her favorite hobby, or following in dad’s footsteps, he wants her to feel empowered.
He encourages all his children to embrace their passions.
“At some point in high school, people stop asking what you want to be and instead ask where you want to go to school,” Kenny says.
“You don’t want to give up on what’s in your heart and then get to 60 years old and have regrets.”
Taking his own advice, Kenny won’t have regrets at 60, as he followed his heart with drag racing.
“It started out as a hobby. But the fan base is so special and so unique, they made me realize we could create a movement that will help a lot of people,” he says.
And that fan base is what drew him in.
“Our fans are loyal. They go through the battle with us, and they’re part of the team.”
They can see the team during the popular pit parties.
“We love meeting the fans,” he says. “It’s not often you get to meet the stars of a show, so it’s a unique opportunity to come meet us and then go watch me to do a crazy backflip. It’s a great way to maximize your experience and create another memory.”
WHEN: Pit party from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; show 7 p.m. Saturday, October 1
WHERE: State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale
COST: Tickets start at $25