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Meet a daredevil Kansas couple as they wheelie their way to Arrowhead for Monster Jam

Not your average marriage: Meet this KC-area couple who drive monster trucks

Dawn and Jimmy Creten of Tonganoxie, Kansas, aren't just married – they're each other's competitors sometimes. They both will be ripping the dirt floor at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.
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Dawn and Jimmy Creten of Tonganoxie, Kansas, aren't just married – they're each other's competitors sometimes. They both will be ripping the dirt floor at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.

The way Dawn and Jimmy Creten met seems straight from one of those unrealistic romance movies.

“I was finishing up an afternoon monster truck show right in front of where the country group Alabama was set to perform,” said Jimmy, who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and last month won the 2019 Monster Jam World Finals racing championship in Orlando, Florida. “They stopped doing what they were doing to watch our show, and the promoter came to tell us we were welcome to come watch their show.”

He headed over to the concert. “And that’s when I met her,” he said. “She had won free tickets to the show.”

“It’s not very often where you can say that’s crazy how that worked out, you know. It was just meant to be.” He jokingly adds, “Dawn, now, is wishing that it wasn’t meant to be.”

To the contrary. Dawn fell in love with Jimmy, and his job. So much so that since 1998 she’s been driving a 10,000 pound monster truck, too. The couple, who now live in Dawn’s native Tonganoxie, both compete on the Monster Jam tour — she in her Scarlet Bandit and he in his Bounty Hunter. They’ll be performing for a hometown crowd Saturday when Monster Jam comes to Arrowhead Stadium.

Previously held at the Sprint Center, this will be Monster Jam’s first stadium event in Kansas City, bringing 14 competitors. In addition to the Cretens, the event features two other KC-area natives, father-daughter duo Kaylyn and Darren Migues.

They’ll be roaring around the dirt-covered field, popping wheelies, leaping in the air, smashing cars and hoping to win.

“It’s more pressure now that we’re home, but you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself that you take yourself out of your element,” said Jimmy.

Occasionally, Jimmy and Dawn compete against each other — but that doesn’t mean they’re rooting for each other’s downfall.

After all, Jimmy started competing in 1994, four years before Dawn started, so he has a little more experience. Jimmy said at first he just wanted Dawn to get better and he would try to give her tips and new tricks to try.

“That was just not gonna happen with Dawn. The more I pushed her, the more she would push back. She really had to go and learn it on her own,” said Jimmy. “When I start backing off, that’s when she started doing better.”

Of course if they compete against each other, someone has to triumph. “Sometimes I win, sometimes she wins. But I never get upset with myself getting beat by my wife,” said Jimmy. “But if she does (beat me), I’d like to see her go and finish the job.”

“I feel like I race harder when I race you,” Dawn laughed. “I don’t know why.”

With Dawn and Jimmy always on the road, it’s hard for their family and friends to see them compete. “It’s pretty exciting because people who never see us, get to,” Dawn said. “It’s close to home.”

Saturday

Monster Jam comes to Arrowhead Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Tickets start at $15 through Ticketmaster. Tickets to an early access pit party to see trucks and drivers start at $30.

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