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Madusa's a real motha trucka


Erika Faust | Interrobang | Sports | February 14th, 2011



Madusa (née Debra Miceli) is known the world over for her days as a pro wrestler, a champion kickboxer, being one of the monster truck industry's first female drivers and generally kicking ass.

She's coming to London from February 19 to 20, along with Captain's Curse, driven by Alex Blackwell; Eradicator, driven by Andy Slifko; Backdraft, driven by Jeremy Slifko; and more to perform in the Monster Jam event in the John Labatt Centre.

Madusa began her career in pro wrestling when she was in college. A friend's boyfriend, a Hollywood stunt coordinator, suggested she'd be great in show business. "I thought, 'Pssh, yeah! I'd be a great stuntwoman!' Then he proposed to me: 'You'd be great in pro wrestling.'"

"I took offense to that, there's no way I was going to be a wrestler with all those guys that screamed on TV and rolled around on the mat," she laughed. "I thought, 'How disgusting. I'm going to school for nursing — I'm not getting into that crap!'"

Eventually, she decided to give wrestling a shot. After watching some of the men practice in the training facility, she thought, "Yeah, I could do that. I could really rough up this board and change a few things — maybe put some glamour in it." She decided to give it a shot, and quit her job shortly after. "It was the best decision ever. It brought me to where my life is now. It made me who I am," she said.

Of her 18 years in the wrestling industry, one match stands out in particular.

"My most memorable match was having a huge angle against a woman called Bull Nakano. She was a very wicked woman, she was about 200-something pounds." The ropes were greasy from the previous match, according to Madusa. Nakano climbed to the top rope to do her finishing move, but slipped and fell. "She landed all 200-something pounds on my head and cracked my skull. All of a sudden, you saw this sheaf of skin and blood and everything was all over. I got up and I finished the match. Everybody was screaming ... I was hoping it was because of what I was doing in the ring, but I think it was because I looked like a freak. It was one of the best matches they ranked to this day in women's wrestling."

Pro wrestling was what led her to driving for Monster Jam. The company called her in 1999, hoping to use some of her fame to cross-promote her in their sport. "I said, 'Dude, I've never even seen (a monster truck). I don't know what the heck, but hell, they've got a lot of horsepower. Sure, I'll check it out.'"

Her very first time driving a monster truck was a huge thrill, she remembered, but driving a Grave Digger truck in Digger's Dungeon wasn't easy. "I was able to drive over cars and jump over things. I went into a pond and almost tipped upside down, but I throttled out. I had never been in a truck, I just throttled right out of it." The hiring people were in disbelief of her driving abilities and hired her on the spot.

Her nickname as the First Lady of Monster Jam is hard earned. She was the first woman to win the Monster Jam World Finals racing championship, and was the only female competitor in the Super Bowl of Motorsports in 2005.

Ten years after her first ride, she's still going strong.

"(In the beginning,) we didn't jump over houses and airplanes like we do now," she said. "Back then, just jumping over two little cars, my adrenaline was through the roof. Now, when I jump over an airplane or a house, I've got snot in my helmet!"

"You have to be an adrenaline junkie to do what I do … or just crazy."

Madusa drives a 12-foot tall Ford that has 1,500 hp. It weighs nearly 10,000 pounds and cost $250,000. Madusa said it's thanks to one person in particular that her truck is in tip-top shape.

"I love my crew chief, Howie Dalton. He is the best crew chief ever. He has made my truck run the best it ever has, and he has built a confidence within me again. I am on my game, and the truck is running so awesome."

Madusa's latest rig is a hot pink truck, which replaced her old red, white and blue one. "My Harley — my motorcycle — is pink, and I love pink. Pink's been my favourite colour - don't ask me why, I'm just a tomboy with the favourite colour pink — and I wanted a pink truck." The colour also ties in with the foundation she is in the process of setting up. Madusa's Fallen Angels aims to help people in need. "I could go ahead and start a charity or foundation, and just give it money," she said, adding that she prefers to see the entire process of helping someone who truly needs it. "To me, that is the reward of life."

Catch Madusa and loads of other drivers at the Monster Jam event on February 19 and 20. Grab specialty tickets at the Biz Booth: $18 for students, $22 for guests for the Sunday afternoon show. This includes a pit pass that gives fans the chance to get a view of the trucks up close and meet the drivers. Fanshawe students with valid ID can grab tickets for $10 for the Saturday night performance. Tickets must be purchased in person at the John Labatt Centre.

For more info about the show, visit tinyurl.com/jlcmonstertrucks. To learn more about Madusa, visit www.madusa.com.
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