Monster Jam makes its way back to Denver with another all-star lineup of your most favorite monster trucks. This event is the yearly Triple Threat series where drivers compete in 6 different competitions throughout the night to earn points that will hopefully push them through to the finals in Las Vegas! Those competitions include Monster Truck racing, 2 Wheel Skills, ATV, Donut Competiton, Speedster UTV racing and Freestyle! This year the Monster Jam Triple Threat series has partnered with St. Jude Hospital to help improve donations to the nonprofit hospital that helps children fight cancer.
Inspired by the dedicated men and women who serve in the elite special-forces branches of the U.S. Military is Monster Jam’s second military-themed truck: Soldier Fortune Black Ops. The first Soldier Fortune made its debut and is currently driven by Kayla Blood. With the addition of the new Soldier Fortune Black Ops Monster Jam truck, United States Army combat veteran Tony Ochs was selected to pilot the incredible new machine in Monster Jam competition. Ochs debut in Soldier Fortune Black Ops came in January 2016 at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY, and Soldier Fortune Black Ops competed in the Young Guns Shootout for the first time at Monster Jam World Finals XVII. The original Soldier Fortune is a camouflaged, tank-inspired truck that pays tribute to the armed forces. Soldier Fortune Black Ops pays homage to the elite branches of the military and its majestic black coloring is designed to signify the special operations that these committed military personnel embark on every day. Ochs is a ten year veteran of the United States Army where he most recently performed the duties of an Apache helicopter Crew Chief. Ochs’ military service also included tours in South Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Xposer Magazine had the opportunity to chat with Tony about what makes him proud to drive this truck. Below is a little snippet of what we talked about.
Q: How long have you been driving Soldier Fortune Black Ops?
Tony: Since 2016
Q: Have you had any previous driving experience prior to getting behind the wheel for Soldier Fortune Black Ops?
Tony: When I started with Feld Entertainment, I had been in the Army for 10 years as a helicopter mechanic. My girlfriend worked for Marvel Universe Live as a motorcycle stunt woman and I began working for them as a motorcycle technician. Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, I grew up operating on machines and off-road riding. When the position opened up for a new rider to join the Monster Jam team, I submitted my application and showed up for the test drive. They liked what they saw and I’ve been driving for just about 5 years now.
Q: What do you enjoy most about driving Soldier Fortune Black Ops for the Monster Jam team?
Tony: I take pride in driving this particular monster truck, it shows my service every time I hit the track, I get to pay tribute to all the men and women out there that selflessly serve our country. They win for us so I can win for them!
Q: What’s your favorite stunt to perform?
Tony: I really love to do a backflip, there’s something about flipping a 12,000lb truck into a backflip and hearing thousands of people cheering in the crowd. The louder the crowd, the harder we go! Hearing the excitement gives me goosebumps.
Q: Tell us about some of the safety measures that keep you safe while showcasing your talents.
Tony: We take great pride in our safety measures to keep all the drivers safe. The RII system is hooked to a radio control box and tech officials are observing the monster truck at any time to see if there are any sort of safety risks or concerns. They have the ability to shut the truck down if they notice anything preventing any potential damage to the truck or driver.
Q: Why would you say your style is over calculated?
Tony: I put too much thought into the routine while I’m performing but I’ve learned to relax over the years. I used to drive myself crazy while performing, overthinking my routine. It would affect my performance trying to get it all laid out in my head and not just living in the moment. My performance has gotten much better since I’ve learned to live on the fly.
You might just get a chance to hear Tony give his famous catchphrase during a speech as well.
“Hold onto your butts, cause it’s about to get hot!!”
You can catch Tony beginning Feb 7th when he makes his way to Denver for the upcoming Triple Threat series. Monster Jam will be in town from Feb 7-9th at the Pepsi Center. Don’t miss out on your chance to snag the pit party tickets either! This is your opportunity to meet and take photos with your favorite drivers like Tony Ochs and many others, have your merch autographed or just get up close and personal with the team of your favorite truck!
Get your pit pass and tickets to the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series here by clicking the link below
Stay tuned for more coverage from Xposer Magazine… where you go to be scene!