For most people, monster truck shows are all about seeing what these Incredible Hulks of the vehicular sports world do best: smash. And when the Monster X Tour roars back into town Friday and Saturday, you'll see plenty of that.
But for Bigfoot driver Kyle Doyle, monster truck shows are all about the fans.
"One of the cooler things about the monster truck industry is how accessible the quote/unquote stars are. Before and after each show, they let people down onto the floor of the arena so they can talk and take pictures with us. It's really cool, and it keeps us honest. And I hope when people leave, they feel a little bit of ownership over the show."
That shouldn't be too much of a problem, considering that the winners of each of the three competition categories (wheelie, racing, and free style) is determined by just how loud audience members can clap, holler, and stomp their feet for their favorite driver.
While it's pretty safe to say the Olympics probably won't adopt this style of judging any time soon, in the monster truck world it's fairly common, Doyle said. And it only helps to make each action-packed Monster X Tour show all the more exciting.
"I like the fans judging. Sometimes, you might not agree with what they decide, but it's what they're feeling. And for us, it only makes the win even sweeter knowing that you managed to win over the crowd."
Doyle, who will be behind the wheel of the 10,000-pound Bigfoot 14, remembered first dreaming of having a car-crushing machine to call his own when he was only 4 and opted to dress up as a Bigfoot driver that year for Halloween.
In only his second year as a professional driver, Doyle brings a newcomer's enthusiasm to the job.
"I started the Monster X Tour in Stockton last year, and Bakersfield was my third event ever," he said. "I love driving at Rabobank Arena because we're basically racing on a hockey floor, and when you try cramming 20,000 pounds of monster trucks in there, that place gets small in a hurry. Not to mention the Bakersfield fans were just outstanding, so I'm really looking forward to coming back."
Once again, Doyle will be competing against other big competitors: Rockstar, Bucked Up, and the California Kid, just to name a few. And, as with every Monster X Tour show, there will be no shortage of entertainment for the entire two-hour experience. In addition to the three truck competitions, there will be freestyle motocross performances by X-Games medalists, Trophy Trucks, and much more.
But perhaps the most important feature of every Monster X Tour show is the Pit Pass, which allows fans to spend a full hour prior to the event getting autographs from and taking pictures with their favorite drivers. Pit Passes are included with the purchase of any VIP ticket, or can be purchased in addition to any ticket for $5.
"My favorite thing overall is getting to see the kids happy," Doyle said, "because I was that fan, and I'm still that fan. Bigfoot drivers were some of the nicest drivers I remember meeting when I was a kid. Now I get to go out and pay them back indirectly. And even if I don't do good that night, those fans are still gonna say, 'At least the Bigfoot driver was nice.' As long as they have a great time, that's good enough for me."