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Boys and their toys: Monster trucker lives childhood dream

Bellevue's Roger Stidell behind the wheel of The Destroyer during the 2012 Monster Jam at the Tacoma Dome (Carousel Imaging photo)

It would be tempting to tell Roger Stidell to grow up and stop playing with toys. But when his toy is a 10,000 pound monster truck, you probably don’t want to make him mad.

Stidell is the driver and owner of The Destroyer, one of the beasts taking over the Tacoma Dome January 4-6 for the annual Monster Jam.

The Bellevue native joined The Ross and Burbank Show and guest host David Boze to discuss the thrill of hurtling the menacing mass of metal 40 feet in the air and crushing smaller cars like a bug.

Stidell says he started out racing motorcycles and four wheelers as a kid before stumbling upon the then nascent sport, volunteering to help out at events at the Kingdome.

“Stuff that went fast and jumped through the air was always appealing to me, so monster trucks was just the next evolution.”

He’s kicked around the sport for years. Occasionally he’d convince crews to give him a shot behind the wheel. But he finally got his big chance when he bought The Destroyer from monster truck pioneer Dan Evans in 2011.

“It’s an adrenaline rush that’s indescribable. It’s so fun and it’s really hard to compare it to anything,” he says.

It better be fun for what it costs to run a truck and keep it going. Stidell says it can cost $200,000 or far more just to buy or build a custom monster truck. Suffice it to say it’s a labor of love.

“Keep in mind you still need to buy spare parts and most guys haul a monster truck around in a semi-truck so you’ve got to factor those costs as well.”

But he says it’s worth every cent for the chance to be behind the wheel of a 1400 horsepower monster of a machine. That’s about 100 times more powerful than Boze’s GEO Metro.

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