Grave Digger

Grave Digger gets some "big air" during a Monster Truck event. Grave Digger will be one of the featured competitors at Monster Jam this weekend at Landers Center.

Get ready for some “big air,” “sky wheelies,” and “donuts” as Monster Jam, the most action-packed motorsports experience, returns to the Landers Center this weekend.

Fan favorites Grave Digger, Whiplash, Megalodon, Soldier Fortune, and Razin Kane will be on hand Friday, Saturday and Sunday tearing up some dirt performing their best stunts as they compete for points in racing, skills challenge, donut and freestyle events.

There will also be opportunities to meet the drivers and get an up-close look at the 10-and-a-half foot tall, 12,000 pound, 1,500 horsepower trucks in the pit area.

This marks the first time Monster Jam has been back in Mississippi to the Landers Center since the pandemic pause.

Tyler Menninga, who drives Grave Digger, said fans are in for a lot of action, some high-flying stunts, and even some unexpected thrills.

“It’s an awesome experience,” Menninga said. “I like getting big air. And I do my signature move where I put the truck on its nose and balance it. Then we’ll do some wheelies, donuts, and maybe some crashes, but hopefully some saves. It’s going to be a good time there.”

Grave Digger will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The truck was originally owned and driven by Dennis Anderson, and started out as a “Frankenstein’s monster” of parts salvaged from junkyards on the body of a 1951 Chevy panel wagon.

Anderson won four Monster Jam World Finals Championships, and today Grave Digger is one of the most popular and recognizable trucks in Monster Jam. Each Grave Digger is handpainted with each tombstone representing everything from trucks that Grave Digger has defeated, to the drivers who have competed behind the wheel.

Menninga got his start in off-road racing and has been driving Grave Digger for the Anderson family for the past six years.

“I grew up driving trucks,” Menninga said. “And I’ve always had a passion for motorsports. It’s highly enjoyable for me. And driving that truck and making fans happy is awesome.”

So how exactly do you learn to drive a Monster truck? Menninga  said you learn by doing.

“You don’t get any practice,” Manning said. “You’re basically learning at the events in front of the fans, which is the crazy part.”

Menninga said driving the most iconic truck in the history of Monster trucks is a great honor. 

Grave Digger is one of the few trucks to have competed in every Monster Jam season since the league started in 1992. The truck has won a total of seven World Championship Titles, and the team as a whole has won 12 championships.

 “I grew up watching Dennis,” Menninga  said. “It’s kind of surreal for me to be driving it.”

Each truck is custom built for Monster Jam and costs about $300,000. The trucks themselves are over 10 feet tall, 12-and-a-half feet wide, 17 feet long, and weigh about 12,000 pounds. The tires are 66 inches in diameter, 43 inches wide, and weigh 645 pounds each.

Menninga said the big block super-charged Chevy engine generates 1,500 horsepower and burns three gallons of methanol fuel a minute, and rides on nitrogen shocks.

“They’re pretty amazing machines,” Menninga said. “Everything about it is just awesome in scope and size.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com

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