Before she buckled up in one of the biggest trucks around, Rosalee Ramer took time to talk to some young girls about being one of the youngest Monster Jam drivers on the circuit.
Just 20 years of age, the Watsonville, California native gets behind the wheel of her “Wild Flower” truck at arenas around North America.
At five-foot-six, Ramer is as tall as one of the massive wheels bolted on her truck.
On Friday (March 2), she and the rest of the Monster Jam-ers made dirt fly at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum in the first of four events this weekend.
Prior to the show, eight girls and their volunteer chaperones with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland were invited to a meet-and-greet with Ramer, the youngest female driver in the race series.
She told them about how she learned the monster-truck trade from her father, Kelvin, who drives the Time Flys rig on the circuit, and about how she’s studying engineering at Georgia Tech in her time away from Monster Jam.
“If you’re really interested in driving, try go-karting, try dirt biking first,” Ramer told the girls, “and it’s about showing that interest and that dedication, and that can really propel you forward, in anything you want to do, really.
“I definitely had to have straight A’s in high school to be able to come out on weekends to race,” she added, “and that was just my dad’s requirement, but still, it was about showing up and showing that you want it, that’s huge.”
Arora, age 8, was among the girls who heard Ramer talk.
“I knew we were going to meet a driver, but I didn’t know she was going to be 20,” Arora said.
Asked if she liked cars and trucks, Arora replied: “You know those fancy cars just with the one seat? I’d like to have one of those. A race car.”
Her Big Sister, Vanessa Giornofelice, met Arora about 14 months ago.
“We have so much fun,” she said. “It’s fun to be a little kid again.”
Ariel, age 8, was at the event with her Big Sister, Michelle Taylor, who grew up in South Surrey and now lives in Vancouver.
“This is probably the coolest event we’ve done so far,” said Taylor, who first met Ariel two months ago.
“We’re a new connection, and we hang out once a week,” Taylor added. “At first she wasn’t really excited about this event until we talked about it more and then her dad was pretty jealous that we got to go, and then she was telling everyone at school she was coming here. I think everyone was jealous.”
Taylor said she decided to volunteer as a Big Sister after hearing about it from a friend who lives in Edmonton.
“She said it was the greatest experience ever,” Taylor explained, “and at first I was kind of nervous, the time commitment, and you never know who you’re going to end up with, but once I met Ariel it was pretty cool, and we’ve had tons of fun so far and we look forward to our hangouts every week.”
The opportunity for Big and Little Sisters to experience an event like Monster Jam is unique – especially when they get to meet a such a young female driver like Ramer.
“It’s definitely an impactful thing to be able to spend time together at an event like this, especially something they maybe wouldn’t normally do, or get to do,” said Stephanie Hall, marketing and communications manager with BC Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.
“This is super unique, and they get to meet a woman who is in a pretty non-traditional career, and so it’s really cool for them to see that, be here with their Big Sisters and learn about those kinds of opportunities.”
This weekend, the Monster Jam event at the Coliseum features “Wild Flower” and several other trucks, including “Grave Digger,” “MAX-D,” “El Toro Loco,” “Hot Wheels” and others, plus ATV racing.
New for 2018, fans can vote for the truck winner in the donut, wheelie and freestyle competitions in real-time, in-arena voting via smartphones.
The action continues Saturday (March 3) with shows at 1 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.
For tickets and more details, call 604-252-3700 or visit ticketleader.ca.