Rosalee Ramer is the youngest female professional monster truck driver in the country. She is also a mechanical engineering student at Georgia Tech.
The 19-year-old sophomore from Watsonville, Calif., has been around monster trucks since she was a toddler. At the age of 3, Ramer began helping her dad, Kelvin Ramer, a Monster Truck driver, work on engines by shining a flashlight so he could see. By 14, she was driving monster trucks professionally.
This Saturday and Sunday , Ramer will compete in the Monster Jam show at the Georgia Dome. This will mark the first time the racer will perform in Atlanta. (See below for more information).
She will be catching big air on jumps, turning donuts and crushing cars with her truck, “Wild Flower,” coated in dark blue with splashes of hot pink and neon green. Her truck weighs 10,000 pounds and features 66-inch tires.
“I love anything with horsepower but what really gets me with monster trucks is the connection we have with the fans,” she said in a recent interviews.
Monster Jams, considered the world’s premier professional monster truck racing circuit, are racing competitions featuring loud, massive, powerful trucks. It’s an event for those who love to hear engines roar and watch huge vehicles perform tricks and aerial stunts.Each Monster Jam truck is over 10 feet tall and stretches 17 feet long. A Monster Jam engine will generate 1,500 horsepower, thanks to a blower that forces air and fuel into the engine.
These trucks can also fly up to 30 feet in the air. Drivers in each event are scored on racing, wheelies and freestyle categories. Stunts include the “sky wheelie’’ and the “slap wheelie,” a freestyle trick performed when a truck is jumped over an obstacle and the front wheels bounce off the ground when it lands (hence, the slap).
Ramer is currently in 8th place in the field of competition. Among her competitors is her dad, who currently ranks 13th.
As a full-time student at Georgia Tech, Ramer sets up her spring class schedule strategically so she can jet off on weekends to race in shows across the country. She estimates she competes in about 25 competitions a year.
She loves competing and performing wheelies, especially the “slap wheelie.”
Meanwhile, the racing aspect remains challenging.
“Racing — that is a mental game and it’s about being smooth and consistent,” she said.
As far as competing against her dad, she said, “We push each other and if either of us wins, we are happy for the other person.”
Monster Jam events typically start with a pre-show Pit Party, which gives fans the opportunity to meet the drivers and get autographs or pictures. Ramer said she loves interacting with fans and being able to help girls realize “they can do whatever they want to do.” There are 104 Monster Jam Truck competitors this season, and Ramer said 12 are women.
While Ramer has no plans to stop competing in monster truck competitions, she has not yet decided on a career after college, only that she is confident it will be in the automotive industry.
“We’ll see what kind of job I do and it has to be something I love to do. I know I always want something with a lot of horsepower in my life,” said Ramer, who drives a 2014 Jeep Ranger with 42-inch wheels at home in California.
Meanwhile, Ramer raves about her college experience at Georgia Tech, and she enjoys applying what she is learning in class in her profession as a monster truck driver.
“I am taking a statics class, which is basically a physics class where all the forces are in equilibrium. It’s also the type of physics which allows us to calculate breaking points, and applied loads. Which is making me think about the way my truck breaks in a more technical way,” she said.
Monster Jam 101. Here’s a Monster Jam glossary:
Backflip – When the truck does a complete 360-degree flip from a vertical obstacle
Big Air – Monster Jam trucks can launch up to 30 feet into the air and travel more than 130 feet. Prepare for lift-off!
Cyclone – Similar to a donut, but done at a higher speed
Donut – Spinning a Monster Jam truck in circles in one spot
Pogo – The Monster Jam truck bounces on the rear tires while standing up into a wheelie.
Power Out – When a driver uses a burst of acceleration to keep the truck from rolling over
Sky Wheelie – When a Monster Jam truck stands straight up at a 90-degree angle with the front tires in the air
Slap Wheelie – When the front of the Monster Jam truck comes down and slaps itself back into a wheelie
Walk It – A one-wheeled wheelie that rocks back and forth between the two rear tires
Wheelie – Lifting the front wheels of the truck off the ground and driving only on the rear wheels
If you go:
Monster Jam at Georgia Dome
7 p.m. Saturday; 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $16-$140.
Georgia Dome, 1 Georgia Dome Drive; Atlanta.
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