Children young and old will have their Halloween wishes come true October 30th and 31st at the Norfolk Scope Arena as the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live tour makes its triumphant return after two years with three exciting, fun filled shows. The drivers and FMX riders will be wearing Halloween costumes and everyone attending is encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. The best costume will win a Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live prize pack.
With an all new lineup and seven monster trucks such as: the car-eating, fire-breathing, transforming Megasaurus, the brand new Bigfoot Midwest Madness, the debut of Racer Ace, the never before seen, 12 foot, dinosaur design Mega Wrex, a free-style motocross and so much more, the only place to be Halloween weekend is at the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live tour at the Norfolk Scope.
For more info and tickets go to https://www.sevenvenues.com/events/detail/hot-wheels-monster-trucks-live-1
With us today are Hot Wheels husband and wife drivers Darron and Rebecca Schnell.
Yiorgo: Rebecca, super congratulations on being the first female driver for Hot Wheels.
Rebecca Schnell: Thank you. I am humbled for that honor. It has always been a goal of mine to change this world someway, somehow and to be able to do that is something that I am super passionate about and such a blessing. While I get to hold the title of the first female driver in the Hot Wheels Monster Truck Live tour, there are quite a few females behind the scenes that may not be recognized but without them our shows would not be as successful. And that is true for the men behind the scenes that produce our shows as well.
Y: Why should people come to the Hot Wheels Monster Truck Live show and what should they expect to see and experience, specifically with this being Halloween theme?
RS: Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and we are doing something really special with the show in Norfolk. We as drivers get to dress up as well, so we are going to have a lot of fun with this. We invite everyone to dress up in their Halloween costumes and prizes will be given away. At this particular show, there are more monster cars coming than we ever had in an arena, so I am very excited that we are going to showcase some of the new trucks that Hot Wheels has put together. We also have the Freestyle motocross guys and the car-eating, fire-breathing, transforming Megasaurus which is always a huge crowd favorite. So I don’t know why anyone would not want to come and watch 10,000 pound machines jump up in the air, do donuts and have a good time with the fans because that is what we are truly about, celebrating families being together and having a good time.
Also, everyone that holds an event ticket can come about two hours before the show, enter our crash zone, come down to the floor, see our monster trucks up close and personal and meet all of the drivers of the events.
Y: How does the show work?
RS: We are a competition show. We go head to head with each other and at the end of the day, whoever has won the most events and has the most points at the end of the series wins the Truck Cup and that’s what we are all going after. It’s a big trophy that we carry around. We keep up with who wins the most trophies and at the end, there is a grand prize for that.
Y: Where were you born and where did you get your passion for driving?
RS: I was born in Stoneville, North Carolina. It is a very small town. From early in my childhood I recall being taken to tractor pulls, and I have always been a farm girl and interested in large vehicles with jacked up tires. I met my now husband Darron in 2009 and he actually works for the same team that I do and also pilots a monster truck.
When I met him, I had never seen a Monster truck up close. I’m a bit of a daredevil so even though I was not supposed to, I climbed up on the monster truck and we hit it off pretty well. Darron has been racing on the team for 13 years now. I went to nursing school as a Registered Nurse and for the last seven years, I would fix all of Darron’s broken parts on the weekends when I was not working at the hospital.
He is responsible for me being behind the wheel. I grew up riding horses and competing and I had made it known early on that I loved competition and that I would love to get behind the wheel. The owners of the company took notice and offered a driving position for me in 2019. I debuted as a monster truck driver in January-February 2020 in the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live European tour. Then Covid hit. After about a 19 month delay, we are back full force. So now I am full time monster trucking and part-time nursing.
Y: You have been married for ten and a half years now. What is it like for both of you to be working together, in the same line of work, teaming together, competing against each other and being together 24/7?
RS: I can tell you that I was blessed to literally marry my best friend. Darron has supported everything I wanted to do. We spend all of our time together. In the pit, during the show we act like husband and wife. But as soon as the helmets go on, we are each other's competitors and that’s how it should be.
Y: What made you fall in love with Darron?
RS: I always joke with Darron that it was all about the monster truck. It was the reason that he and I are together. It caught my attention, I went to see it and Darron and I had instant chemistry. He grew up on a farm in South Dakota, I grew up in a tiny town in North Carolina with both of us being farm kids. We have very similar interests and that’s what makes it work for us. We are both goal driven and it’s been the best time doing that stuff together.
Darron Schnell: Working with Rebecca has been filled with both challenges and rewards, much like a marriage. On one hand, being with anyone every minute is difficult. On the other hand, we have been blessed with the one thing that most marriages have conflict over, that is time. We have had to learn to communicate on a whole different level because we are not only married, but also teammates. She has to put what her truck is doing into a language that I understand, and I’m challenged to give her driving lessons in a way that her brain understands. She is extremely analytical in her thought process so she wants everything step by step.
Y: When did you know you had fallen in love with Rebecca?
DS: I knew I was interested in Rebecca the day we met. She was a very strong, independent type of girl. I knew I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her a couple of months into our relationship. Her family went through a pretty serious car accident. Through that process, I saw strength and character in her that blew me away. She was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Y: Rebecca, the first time you drove professionally was in Europe. Tell us about that experience.
RS: Europe was a completely different experience for this tiny town girl then I had ever did not expect to be held in such celebrity status. We are a luxury when we come to see them. When we end the show we do a walk around the arena on foot and wave. In America most of the fans get up and leave. In Europe they do not leave their seats until all of us have left the floor. We traveled all over Europe. I also won my first freestyle event in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Y: What was that first time, winning feeling, like?
RS: I’m not going to be shy about this. I went over to do my tour as a brand new rookie driver. I had driven my truck three times before it was shipped overseas. I went in with the mentality that I am not here to win anything, I am here to learn and grow as an individual and become a better driver while I was there. When I won, I dropped to the ground and started crying because it was so humbling for me.
Y: Now you are driving the brand new Bigfoot Midwest Madness. Tell us about that.
RS: Bigfoot Midwest Madness is the first ever collaboration with Hot Wheels and Bigfoot. It’s a very beautiful 1979 Bigfoot body that I am very fortunate to pilot. Darron has been working for Bigfoot for the last 13 years. This year he is piloting the Hot Wheels Race Ace that will make its debut at the Norfolk Scope.
Y: Darron, you’ve loved the monster truck Bigfoot ever since you were three years old.
DS: It is totally surreal to me. I remember growing up watching them on TV as big personalities and now, working with them through the years, they are even nicer than I imagined as a kid. They are normal people who are doing what they love, just like me.
Y: Darron can you share a wow, pinch me moment for you?
DS: One was going through the arches at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It is a national monument. The Pope has spoken there, the Olympics were held there. They told us at the drivers meeting, you cannot hit this, it’s irreplaceable. I am driving a monster truck at this arch, with three inches on each side of my tires, then I jump on there and back in the stadium.
Going overseas was incredible. I grew up a farm kid from South Dakota. I never thought I’d get paid to go to another country and perform. Each step along the way has been such an honor. To see the little kids come up, a big smile on their face, light up like a Christmas tree. I remember being that little kid being so starstruck that I couldn't imagined. People there are so genuinely nice. They offer their clothes off their backs. I talk to drivers and now being on the other side of it is the best experience I could ever imagine.
Y: What are you looking forward to the most at the Norfolk show?
DS: With the Halloween theme, it will be such a change of pace with everyone dressed up in costumes. We like interacting with fans, we enjoy entertaining and this particular show in Norfolk will be one of the highlights of the year. The Hot Wheels atmosphere is great to begin with and when you put that cherry on top, it will be an absolute, awesome weekend. See you all there.
Yiorgo is an arts, entertainment and sports writer. A stage, TV and movie actor, he is also a sports entertainer, educator, motivational speaker, writer, storyteller and columnist.