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Two of the drivers at this weekend’s Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center are brothers

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STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN 
bbingaman@thereporteronline.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

The arena floor at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center has had 7,500 tons of dirt dumped on it to transform it into a dirt track.
Monster Jam rumbles into town for four shows Oct. 2-4.
Scott Handfinger, director of event marketing and sales in the Northeast for show producer Feld Entertainment Inc. pointed out that kids’ tickets are $10 (restrictions and fees may apply); and that there are eight Monster Jam trucks scheduled for the Philadelphia stop on the tour, including Grave Digger and the Philly debuts of monster trucks Soldier Fortune and Carolina Crusher. “It’s a great event and fans are in for a real treat,” he said in an email.

Steve Koehler

Steve Koehler

“Team Scream” Monster Jam drivers Steve and Jim Koehler are brothers. Jim “Mr. Excitement” Koehler drives the green “Avenger” truck, and is the only driver to have won Monster Jam’s freestyle championship more than once. Jim brought Steve onto his team in 2008, and Steve drives the blue “Wrecking Crew” truck.
“There’s a father and son (that compete). There’s two sets of twins that drive. You’d be surprised,” Jim Koehler said of the family connections in Monster Jam. Check out the driver bios at www.monsterjam.com.
Steve Koehler’s Monster Jam pre-show ritual includes making sure his St. Christopher medal is in the truck, as well as his collection of toy stuffed sheep. “Our internet girl (from www.avengerracing.com), she has a fascination with sheep and farm animals,” he said, of how the tradition got started. “There’s a Pez dispenser and stuffed animals that fans have given to me … (it) reminds you that that’s what you’re there for.”

Jim Koehler

Jim Koehler

“We enjoy meeting our fans, getting to talk to them and sign autographs and they get to see the trucks up close,” said Jim.
During Monster Jam, the trucks square off against each other in side-by-side races, and head-to-head to see who can do the most thrilling wheelies, doughnuts and freestyle performances. The name of the game, said Steve, is to find “whatever you do in the truck that causes (the crowd) to react. When you get to look up and see that … it’s a wild feeling.”
When asked what it was like climbing behind the wheel of such a powerful machine, Jim said: “It’s like waiting in line for a roller coaster. It’s like an amusement park on wheels. We have fun doing what we do, and like the fact that our audiences are families.”
Tweeting from the show? Use the hashtag #MyMonsterJam.
By the numbers
500: The number of man hours to install just the plastic and plywood.
30: The number of dump trucks used to unload 300 truck loads of dirt. Also the number of gallons of paint needed to paint the obstacles and the track.
20: How many pieces of heavy machinery are required to set up Monster Jam.
1,200: How many square feet of banners there are at the Philly show.
25: The number of crush cars.
4: The number of crush vans (and two larger obstacles, depending on track).
18: How many hours it takes to paint the logos and designs on track and obstacles.

IF YOU GO

What: Monster Jam.
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, 2 p.m. Oct. 4.
Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.
Tickets: $10-$60.
Info.: Call (800) 298-4200 or visit www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com.

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