Our good friend and long time contributor Stephanie Cotnoir (aka Miss Tool Box) recently got her shot to pilot the Wrecking Crew in an event for the first time in Massachusetts. Stephanie was kind enough to share with us her experience leading up to the event and what it was like driving for the first time. Thanks Stephanie!
In 2006, I didn’t know anything about mechanic or monster trucks. (Grave Digger???) Six years later, on September 2nd 2012 to be precise, this French Canadian girl from Quebec got a shot in Wrecking Crew, in Northampton, Massachusetts! Believe me, a lot has happened in six years!
My first show was in Quebec City, in May 2006. Truth is, I didn’t even go to the show for the monster trucks, but rather for the freestyle motocross and ATVs! But after my first show, I was HOOKED! The big tires, the look of the truck, the power, I loved everything! Avenger was already my favorite.
I obviously took tons of pictures at the show, and looked online for team’s website to send them couple pics. Samson posted some of my pics on their website, and then later on, “Steve” (Koehler), from Team Scream, wrote me back about my pictures, being at first surprised that “a girl from Quebec could speak English!” haha! Then I saw the team again in November 2006, in Montreal. That’s when I met Jim (Koehler) and Steve, and that’s also where I learned that monster trucks are not called “Big Foots”, but rather “Monster trucks” (us, silly French Canadians)!
I’ll definitely make a long story short here, at the end of April 2007, I was visiting Michigan for the first time, and I just never really came back. So I started going to shows, cleaning trucks, putting tires on, filling tires, taking pictures, which led me to taking over the website, and creating all those social media pages. I also started to go to the shop once in a while, and I fell in love with FIBERGLASS! Oh yeah! No sarcasm, I love it! I don’t get itchy at all either! I would also wash the trucks after a show. So I started at the bottom. Then I slowly started to move the trucks around the pits to place them for pit party, or after crashes, back to the trailer, etc. Then a pink sheep made an appearance on Wrecking Crew in Las Vegas last year, and Steve has been running the truck with the sticker on ever since (Yeah, I do love sheep).
Steve wanted me to get a chance to race the truck at an event, but we had to find the right event to do this at, and since I was spending a lot of time back home in the last couple years, the opportunity never came, until this year in Massachusetts! Actually, Chris wanted me to race Brutus, but after talking to Jim about it, telling him I would feel a lot more comfortable driving Wrecking Crew since the seat fits me, and since I drove it a lot more then Brutus, we agreed I would get to race the truck at the last show of the weekend on Monday! But the promoter got excited at the idea of having a girl driving, so he actually talked Jim into letting me drive Sunday as well, which is when I did my first ever racing pass!!! Steve would do wheelie and freestyle. Then on Monday, I got to do the wheelie contest, as well as racing!
I won the wheelie contest, all the credit goes to Steve tho, cause I followed his directions! I also told him after the show that now all he had to do was following his own advice, because apparently, it works! hahah!!! And after having a rocky start racing for the first time on Sunday (over-shifted at the starting line) I ended up winning the racing finale against Avenger on Monday, because Jim overturned and hit the pole, and had to go in reverse. So I took advantage of that, and FLOORED IT! hahaha!!!!
I would like to share what I was thinking while driving. Well first, I thought I would be nervous as could be, but I was not. I just wanted to have fun! Then when I did my first ever hit over cars, all I remember is seeing my legs going all over the place! Then I was thinking, “This hook over the gas pedal don’t do anything! ” But the more I drove, the more I learned to control where my legs were going. During the wheelie contest, I also lost the gum I forgot to throw away. I literally saw it fly off in the truck when the wheelie bar hit the cars… then I heard the crowd screaming and I quickly forgot about the gum and thought “Hey, I guess that means my wheelie is good!” I’m glad I was wearing Steve’s DefNder too. It worked great with the ISP seat. Appropriate safety equipment is definitely a must.
This was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Seriously! The smile I had on my face would NOT go away, days after the event! haha! I was so thankful to Jim, Chris and Steve for letting me get a shot, and also to the fans and to my friends for being so supportive! That proved me that hard work pays off. I deserved a shot in the truck, and winning wheelie and racing was just icing on the cake! Being part of Team Scream is amazing! I learned so much, going from how to speak English to how do the trucks work! haha! I also got the amazing opportunity to travel all across the United-States, and I LOVE being on the road! I would have so many road stories to tell, but this thing is already way too long… (Was supposed to do only couple paragraphs… ooops! … After all I’m a woman, so I don’t listen, you can’t blame me! haha)… OH YEAH!! And winning the Miss 4-Wheel Jamboree bikini contest in Bloomsburg, PA, in 2010 was also a pretty fun experience! haha!
Now everyone is asking if I will become a full time driver, or if a new truck-pink-will be part of Team Scream, and the answer is no! Steve remains the driver of Wrecking Crew, and there is no plan for a pink truck for me! haha! I got a chance to know what it’s like to jump cars and stand on the tires in front of all the fans, and this is something I will never forget! Who knows if I will get to drive again, but if I do, I will let you know ! Check my Facebook page for pictures, stories, and behind the scenes stuff… and meet Yoshi, my JEEP TJ 1997, my own mini monster truck on 37’s!