Welcome to the Single Mom Life bi-weekly blog series. This week on SML I went looking for inspirational women because when you’re a single mom, it’s easy lose motivation in a man’s world. I was lucky enough to land an exclusive interview with Monster Jam’s El Toro Loco team truck driver Becky McDonough. Talk about finding some girl power! She’s not a single mom, but she’s just the right dose of girl power to give you that “hell yeah” in your step.
Becky is a true inspiration. She saw something she wanted, found out what she needed to do to get there, and set herself on the path with all the odds against her. A path to a career heavily dominated by men and 100% bad ass. Let me tell you, Becky is no basic bitch.
The Monster Jam Experience
There’s something that commands attention when the trucks come out on the track. It’s hard to take your eyes from. I’ve been hooked since my first jam in 2012 and have been to every one since. You are seriously missing out if you’ve never been to a Monster Jam show. Take everything you know about big stadium sports; the excitement, the food, the family, the tailgating… then throw the gnarliest engines, biggest jumps, epic donuts and biggest trucks you can imagine. You’ve got one exciting evening.
About Becky McDonough
Becky has been driving the yellow El Toro Loco truck since 2012. Before that she drove for Donkey Kong at the beginning of her driving career in 2010. But this was certainly not her beginning. It took years for her to get into that driver’s seat. Having put in her time as a mechanic for Monster Jam then crew chief for Nitro Circus, she worked her way to the top the old fashioned way. Because she was determined, motivated and good at her craft.
It was the same display of badassery in 2010 which landed her on one of the strongest Monster Jam teams in the game. And last night was no different. I watched Becky take bigger jumps than most of the guys, especially the ballsiest one which ultimately ended her flipped in the dirt. But that’s just the kind of determination and fearlessness which made her a Monster Jam bad ass and I’m glad she had the nerve to do it.
She left the Tampa Monster Jam with a trophy for best donuts. Now there’s something your basic bitch can’t do.
So what does the girl who drives this thing have to say about life, work and being a bad ass?
My Exclusive Interview with Monster Truck El Toro Loco Driver Becky McDonough
Let’s talk about your work…
TFT: You went from spectator to mechanic, working your way through the hoops and barrels of getting into the driver seat. Looking back, was there ever a time where you needed to find that inner power to break through defeat in a male dominated industry? What was your super power?
Several times! There’s only so much beating down a person can take, weather it be people having negative attitude towards a woman being in the sport, or things just not going right in general.
When you get to that point of feeling all odds are against you, you’ve got to stop and remember why you want it. Dig deep and push through. To hell with what everyone else thinks.
I’m pretty strong-headed when it comes to, well, pretty much everything. I remember the first time a wheel broke off on one of the Monster Jam trucks, I was still very green with little experience. After the show the two crew guys I traveled with jumped on it right away and I asked if I could do it. I never saw tools drop so fast! They stood back and made sure I was doing things the right way, but I forced it on them to help and let me learn. Had I stood back and let them do everything, I’d be known as “that girl” in which they all had bets of how long I would last.
Is being bull-headed a super power? Haha
TFT: How do you go from wrench to pedal? What was your training like for getting behind the wheel of a 10k lb beast of a bull?
To many people’s surprise, there was no training. Not back in the day.
I feel I was a lot more comfortable getting behind the wheel over some, for the simple fact of maneuvering those trucks for 4 years before actually driving them under power. In and out of the haulers, on and off the track, doesn’t seem like much, but you have a feel for it.
TFT: It’s no secret. Any female in the spotlight (no matter how damn right gorgeous they are) is vulnerable to the pressures of looking a certain part. Do you ever feel like you have to worry about looking good for anyone but yourself?
Oh absolutely! My first year of driving, I was still wrenching on the trucks too. I would see pictures later on from the Pit Parties, or post show autographs, with dirty stained knuckles, grease under my half bitten nails, and black dry elbows. I eventually got a call asking to “clean myself up more and take few extra minutes to get ready” and I was just like “I don’t know how, I’ve scrubbed my hands and arms! This burnt transmission fluid is soaked into my skin!” It’s definitely easier to maintain a “cleaner” image now that I just focus on driving. But at the same time, I’m not a super girly girl when it comes down to it. I’ll try to touch up here and there, but
I’m out racing monster trucks, not at a beauty pageant. So forgive me now if I’m still a hot sweaty mess at post show autographs!
TFT: As a role model to girls looking to drive for Monster Trucks, what is the best advice you can give to set them on a clear path to the wheel?
Never EVER let someone tell you, you can’t!!
I heard that since the ninth grade when I realized I wanted to race Monster Jam trucks. “It was a man’s sport” “It’s too far-fetched of a dream” “You’ll never make it” Yeah, well guess what? I did it.
It doesn’t come easy and you better work your butt off, but if you want it bad enough, go for it.
Let’s talk about travel…
TFT: You travel a lot. Where have you been that has left an impression on you and why?
Oh man, I have been so blessed to travel the World, multiple times. In fact, I was just going over to Europe (Sweden and Finland) this past November and started to write down all the places I’ve been. I couldn’t even remember half of them! I’ve been to over 10 different countries, and traveled the US in a semi for several months, seeing everything in between.
The places I’ve been, the things I’ve experienced, cultures I’ve been a part of, is just incredible. From the Pyramids in Mexico, to the Eiffel Tower, fighting out wicked rain in Costa Rica, to exploring castles in England… I have had one amazing journey. To name just one place would be impossible.
TFT: What are 3 things you can’t live without when you’re traveling?
My phone, of course. I always get a ridiculous craving for peanut M&Ms when I’m overseas, so I like to stock up before I go.
TFT: What does your dream trip look like?
Bora Bora!! With friends and family, swimsuits all day!
Let’s talk about you…
TFT: When you went to your very first show in 9th grade was it, what driver won your heart?
Madusa! I thought it was so bad ass to see a woman out there running with big dogs, I’ve looked up to her ever since.
TFT: Tell me something your fans don’t know.
That’s a good one, I’m practically an open book on social media!
I tried yoga once, and there’s a good chance I will never do it again.
I need something more upbeat, like kick boxing. I have 6 tattoos. I was born in Wichita KS, but went to school in Brainerd MN, spending my summers/holidays in KS with my dad. I hate snakes. I will never own a mini van. I’ve lived in 9 different states.
TFT: Lastly, what’s it like to spend a day in the life of a female Monster Truck Driver?
Really, I’m just your typical girl. I like to sleep in, I have to have breakfast, or otherwise as my boyfriend would put it, I “Hulk out”. On race weekends, the days are mostly spent at the track.
In between shows, I’m back home playing Susie homemaker, unpacking, laundry, cleaning, dinners, grocery shopping, repack and jet off again!
Thank you so much Becca. You’re a real inspiration to women who are breaking molds and pursuing their dreams. It was great speaking with you!
It’s hard to think someone driving a beast like El Toro Loco is this down to earth but it’s totally true. Becky doesn’t know just how inspiring she is. For anyone thinking about defying the odds, take one look at this girl. Watch her run the track. If you’re not inspired, check your pulse.
If you want to meet Becky McDonough check out the Pit Pass event before the show where you can get a pic and autograph for free. You can also see all the trucks on display and meet other great drivers too.