30 years ago when Pablo Huffaker helped create one of the first monster trucks out of his 4 wheel drive shop, he could never have predicted he would be instrumental in developing an industry. The “monster truck” began as a marketing tool to help promote his shop, but went on to entertain millions of fans in a new sport he helped shape. You probably know Pablo as Grave Digger® of Monster Jam, I had the opportunity to speak to him about his fascinating career.
Engineering skill mixed with ingenuity and a passion for entertainment are the makings of a winning driver, and Pablo has it. His journey began in the 1980’s when he helped built the original King Krunch® truck. Soon after he built his own truck, later joining Dennis Anderson and Team Grave Digger. What started as a hobby resulted in a highly successful career and Pablo is a top veteran driver, winning multiple racing and freestyle events including the Monster Jam World Finals. Pablo is also one of the sport’s biggest innovating producers in shock design and technology. A leading expert in custom fabrication and machine work, his work can be seen in vehicles throughout the industry and in competitions.
The sport has brought Pablo all over the globe, but these days he races mostly within the US working out of his RaceSource shop in Texas. He prefers to work on his own racing trucks, and you might see him driving Black Smith, Grave Digger, Captain’s Curse, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle™. His shop provides the perfect playground where Pablo says he “never works a day in his life because I love what I do”. He’s a family man, and wife Tina manages the administrative side of the business. Their son Ryan grew up alongside this growing industry and Ryan now drives part-time and has a son of his own, adding a third generation to the Monster Truck family business.
When I asked him what changes in monster trucks stand out in his view, Pablo sites the steadily growing loyal fan base. He points that even in recessions, fans have supported the sport and its growth. Monster Truck Racing was new to me, so I asked Pablo how he suggests a newbie best experience Monster Jam. His advice was to bring earplugs, get a cotton candy and sit back and enjoy the show. To that I’ll add do not wear black or white, because it gets dusty as hell in those arenas with those trucks driving around! You can learn more about Pablo and Monster Jam a www.MonsterJam.com and follow it on Twitter @monsterjam