Monster Truck Jam lands Lafayette driver in Dome

MONSTER MASH

“We’re there for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to satisfy all the fans that come out and give them the best show possible.” Coty Saucier, monster truck driver

There are acquired tastes, like fine wine and opera, then there are things that are so undeniably awesome they turn adults into kids again and kids into wide-eyed embodiments of wonder. Monster trucks fall into the latter category.

Lafayette native and Monster Energy truck driver Coty Saucier was once such a wide-eyed kid, but now he’s the one jumping the ramps and crushing the cars, and he couldn’t be happier.

“Dad took me to a show, and I just fell in love with the big trucks,” Saucier said. “It was a cartoon come to life. To this day, I still feel like a child in a toy box — the toy box just got bigger and badder.”

Bigger and badder pretty much describes Saucier’s ever-growing career. Last year was his busiest yet, with shows in more than 30 cities, including some overseas gigs in Sydney, Australia, and the Middle East. Now Saucier and company are bringing that motorized mayhem to the Superdome on Saturday.

While the extent of his success may be a pleasant surprise, his career as a motorist is not. Saucier has always been fascinated by machines.

“I’ve always been a gearhead, always had a toolbox, always worked on cars, four-wheelers, dirt bikes, RC cars, whatever,” he said. “Anything with wheels and gears, that was my cup of tea.”

As soon as he was able, Saucier began volunteering at monster truck shows to learn the ropes and get his foot in the door. After earning a spot as a track official at Monster Jam in 2005, he worked his way up to crew chief and eventually fulfilled his dream of getting behind the wheel.

Even as a driver, Saucier’s mechanical know-how is a necessity.

“Monster Jam is a little unique. It’s different than, say, NASCAR,” he said. “Here, it’s kind of a one-man band: a monster truck driver and his crew chief. And that crew chief takes care of everything from the logistics and paperwork all the way down to getting dirty doing fiberglass work after a rollover. Guys here at Monster Jam are really a jack-of-all-trades.”

Each truck has two or three bodies in rotation in case they get damaged. Saucier said taking care of the trucks is like a 24/7 baby-sitting gig, and sometimes that means making repairs in the middle of a show.

“During the show you can only do so much, but all the drivers and crew guys try to help each other,” Saucier said. “We’re there for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to satisfy all the fans that come out and give them the best show possible.”

Saucier’s performance at the Superdome will be his first event as a bona fide monster truck driver in his home state. He said he’s excited to get a chance to show off for his friends and family and because the Superdome is such a natural fit for the mammoth machines.

“They say our motto at Monster Jam is ‘as big as it gets,’ ” Saucier said. “Well, I don’t think it gets much bigger than the Superdome.”

As a relatively new racer, Saucier is eager to prove to the other drivers, and to the crowd, that he’s more than just a great mechanic with a dream. He knows it won’t be easy, but he’s used to crushing obstacles.

“I want to win, but there’s some stiff competition out there that I highly respect, like Damon Bradshaw and Dennis Anderson,” Saucier said. “Those guys are what monster trucks and Monster Jam are all about, and I’m right there with them now. This is huge for me. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”