Only female Monster Jam driver at Toronto event aims to crush the competition
Haley Gauley, 36, is a solo female driver making her Monster Jam debut
Monster Jam fans are watching some of their favourite trucks at the Rogers Centre this weekend rip through the dirt.
Fourteen drivers are facing off in 12,000 pound monster trucks on Saturday and Sunday, racing and manoeuvring them — on the track and in the air — in freestyle stunt competitions.
Among them is Haley Gauley, 36, a solo female driver making her Monster Jam debut.
"I asked how to become a driver because I wanted to be an amazing female driver," Gauley said on Saturday.
Gauley auditioned, then trained at the "Monster Jam University," a training facility in Paxton, Ill. and quickly took to the sport.
Feld Entertainment, which organizes Monster Jam events in North America, says there are 14 women currently on its tour through U.S. and Canadian cities, but Gauley says it's still an upward climb.
"It's definitely a man's world, though us females are coming into it," she told CBC Toronto.
It's a physically and mentally demanding sport. One 12,000-pound truck provides 1,500-horsepower. A single tire weighs 800 lbs.
The sheer power of the vehicles draws fans to the event.
"You get 1,500 horsepower, no pipes and 10,000 RPMs. That's excitement," said long-time fan Steve Kovach, as he waited in line in the bitter cold to see the competition on Saturday.
But for Gauley, her focus is on fellow competitors.
"I'm a little bit nervous as far as going up against the big guys that have been doing this forever," she said.
Two world champions are on that roster at the Toronto event.