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Monster truckers look for energy boost from fans at Arena event

Fri., Feb. 7, 2014

Tyler and Travis Groth always loved working on cars.

The Gig Harbor brothers – 30-year-old identical twins, actually – turned their love for tinkering with trucks into careers as professional monster truck drivers.

Tyler drives the Double Trouble truck. His brother is Captain USA. Together they’ll be in Spokane this weekend for Monster Jam at the Spokane Arena.

Travis Groth has been driving in Monster Jam for three years, Tyler Groth for two. Their entry into the monster truck world, beyond their role as ardent fans, came a few years earlier when they approached a driver and offered to help work on his truck. They were willing to do anything, even change the tires. No simple feat, by the way.

“They’re 750 pounds apiece, so it’s not an easy task,” Tyler Groth said last week by phone from his home.

“We just helped out and fell in love with it. Our parents always said do something you love,” he said. “So we had an opportunity to do that.”

Now each has his own truck – “So we don’t have to share,” Groth said with a laugh – and their team is called Mirror Image Racing. They often compete against each other, but it’s not proving to be a problem, Groth said. “We don’t care if he wins or if I win. As long as we get a win, we’re happy.”

Groth said anyone who’s not been to a monster truck show in the past five years will be surprised at how far the motorsport has advanced.

“Technology in shocks and aftermarket products for the trucks, and even new drivers. They’re bringing on drivers from other forms of motorsports, off-road racing, hydroplane racing, which is adding a different element to the sport.”

Still, fans will get to see big-wheeled trucks do various tricks and run over stuff. And for the drivers, the fans’ excitement is a big draw.

“When the place is full and the fans are going crazy, it’s hard for us not to get into it,” he said. “Just the excitement of the fans gets into us, and the kids are yelling and screaming, it doesn’t get any better than that, and we try to go out and put on the best show that we can.”

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