Grave Digger: Monster Jam’s Most Monstrous Truck

Monster Jam is an automotive clash of the titans that involves behemoths like the Grave Digger monster truck. The first Grave Digger was a legend and has been recreated several times because of its popularity. Drivers like Dennis Anderson and Adam Anderson have taken the Grave Digger on legendary freestyle runs at the Monster Jam World Finals. It has also competed against beasts like the Megalodon and Max-D monster trucks. But what’s this Monster Jam truck’s story, and how did it become such a staple in monster truck culture

Grave Digger: The most iconic monster truck?

The Grave Digger flying over a dirt mound in front of the 50,000 strong crowd in Rotterdam, July 2016.
The Grave Digger monster truck | Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Grave Digger 1 is the brainchild of Dennis Anderson. In 1981 Anderson got the idea to modify a 1951 Chevy Panel Wagon using some scrap parts he gathered. Today the Grave Digger’s spooky black and green paint job is recognizable by millions. 

The Grave Digger is even available as an official SpinMaster 2.4ghz RC truck, 24-volt battery ride-on, and ATV for the kids. The brand also now extends to the Kevin Harvick Grave Digger track car that competes in NASCAR races. This monster truck is a motorsports legend. It has its own gift shop and display location devoted to it in Poplar Branch, North Carolina, called Digger’s Dungeon.

The heavy-duty truck, now owned by Feld Entertainment, is arguably more famous than its skilled drivers. Unlike most of its drivers, it’s been part of the popular United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) television series Monster Wars. Dennis Anderson made sure the Grave Digger name went unsullied over its years of dominating the monster truck scene. 

The family behind Grave Digger

The Grave Digger monster truck crushing cars.
The Grave Digger monster truck | Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first person other than Dennis Anderson to drive a Grave Digger monster truck was his brother Leslie Anderson. Dennis Anderson retired in 2017. That same year driver Tyler Menninga won the East Coast Monster Jam series in Grave Digger 23. 

Dennis’ children have either all driven Grave Digger monster trucks or plan to. Adam Anderson performed the world’s longest monster truck wheelie in Bradenton, Florida, in June 2020. He also introduced one of the few existing spin-off trucks called Grave Digger The Legend, adding to his father’s legacy. 

Grave Digger The Legend was a custom Ford panel truck that gained notoriety of its own. Adam has won five Monster Jam World Championships. He may be Dennis’ most accomplished child but he is far from the only sibling to take a Grave Digger for a spin.

Krysten Anderson made history as the first woman to drive the Grave Digger full time. Krysten broke the record for highest monster truck leap in 2020 at 33 feet and 9.6 inches. She has made three World Finals appearances and is representing the Anderson family to the fullest.

Monster Jam’s meanest machine

The Grave Digger monster truck.
The Grave Digger monster truck | Eduardo Parra/Getty Images

According to NBC Sports, Krysten Anderson is the third sibling to drive a Grave Digger monster truck. Each Anderson has taken the Grave Digger brand to new heights at Monster Jam. Dennis Anderson casts a long shadow but his children have stepped up to the plate and achieved amazing feats of their own.

A Grave Digger is more than just a monster truck that can demolish a school bus. Grave Diggers stand for excellence, dominance, and family. The flaming black and green truck is Monster Jam’s most monstrous truck because we know that no matter who’s behind the wheel they’ll put on a show.

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