The platinum blonde 31-year-old Davenport native will take the wheel of her gargantuan Scooby-Doo, among eight monster trucks to compete in two shows at the TaxSlayer Center, Saturday, April 23, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Cozad said recently of be back at the Moline arena for the first time since 2018. “I mean, I have so much support back here in in the Quad Cities and it’s actually crazy that the first show is almost already sold out. I’ve had people reach out to me and tell me that from high school or just people that I’ve met this throughout the years, that are coming back with their children and their entire family to see me. It’s a really very surreal feeling. It’s just very humbling.”
Monster Jam (for which she’s driven since 2016) has thankfully been back on tour since January, after being shut down with everything else in March 2020.
“As you can imagine, it was a shock for all of us,” Cozad said. During her time off, she took online classes for her associate’s degree from Scott Community College (which she first started right after she graduated Davenport West), and has two classes to finish.
She split her time off between Davenport and Jacksonville, Fla. Cozad plans to get her bachelor’s degree at some point in communications/broadcasting.
Monster Jam has been using more female drivers in recent years, and there’s at least one for each tour, Cozad said. She loves being back on tour.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m back to my normal self,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed it. I guess I didn’t realize how much I really needed it back in my life, to be honest.
“It’s been insane. It’s been crazy and just awesome to be back,” Cozad said. “Just the camaraderie between the drivers and everything — it’s just an incredible feeling. You know, the Monster Jam is a family. We’re on tour. I was pretty rusty, not driving for about two years, so it took me a little while to get back, but I definitely feel much more confident and back in the groove.”
Living her dream
“One of the biggest questions for me being a female in the sport, I don’t want to be an inspiration just for girls,” Cozad — who started drag racing at Cordova in 2008 — said. “But for little girls and boys, for moms and dads, anyone. I’m not saying just for motorsports, but for life. This is my dream, what I was made to do. Everyone should go for what they want, whether they’re male, female, old, young. It doesn’t matter.”
“I don’t care what anybody thinks. Driving a monster truck, there’s nothing like it,” she said. On dirt, she wields a vehicular behemoth — 10.5 feet tall, 12.5 feet wide, 17 feet long, weighing 12,000 pounds, with monster tires 66 inches in diameter. At each event, Cozad also drives an ATV and speedster.
“It’s hard,” she said. “Every place has different dirt, and that makes a huge difference.”
Cozad’s father, Dave, has been in motorsports for decades. She started drag racing at 16; got her first Mustang then and built a Camaro when she was 18. “It’s in my blood; he got me starting to do it,” she said. “He never pushed me, though. I just loved motorsports.”
She got into Monster Jam after seeing a show in Rockford in 2014, and met driver Debra “Madusa” Miceli (who was a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler). “She’s a huge advocate for women, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for her,” Cozad said. “She took my information, my resume and put in a good word for me.”
Madusa and Tom Meents (11-time world champion and owner of Monster Jam University, in Paxton, Ill.) have been her biggest mentors. “He’s been very encouraging,” Cozad said.
Loving drag racing and monster trucks
She was the first female to win the Super ET prize at Cordova in 2014, the World Series of Drag Racing.
“It’s completely different; I love them both,” Cozad said of Monster Jam vs. drag racing. “Drag racing I’ve been doing my entire life. Monster Jam is completely different than anything you’d ever do. I’d pick Monster Jam over anything — just the fans and the crowds. They make it worthwhile.”
“She took me under her wing,” she said of Madusa. “I still keep in contact with her. I’m still friends with her and she’s still a huge inspiration just to keep going and always have goals and dreams.”
There have been so many great memories so far in Monster Jam, “but the very first memorable experience would have to be when I was in the truck for my first show, coming out onto the track and hearing the crowd go wild,” Cozad recalled. “That was such an amazing moment in my career.
“The best part of being on the road is the entire experience as a whole. Seeing my Monster Jam family, traveling to new cities, competing in events, and of course, meeting all of the Monster Jam fans,” she said noting it’s such a thrill to see the crowds again after so long without.
“The fans coming out and they’re the ones who make who make us want to do what we do,” Cozad said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s two people in there, which, you know, there’s always many more than that. But no matter if there’s two if there’s 20,000, we want to put on just a great event and the competition, ‘cause we love what we do too.”
She also looks forward to the pit party before each show, where drivers meet fans, but fans can’t go into the monster trucks.
“That is exactly one of my favorite things, and I feel like it’s all the drivers’ pretty much their favorite aspect of it as well,” Cozad said. “You get to interact with the fans and kind of build that bond between you and the fans before you go out and compete.”
The coolest things
One of the coolest things is that fans will bring up toy Scooby trucks or shirts for her to autograph, as well as photos of them in years past for her.
“It’s very exciting. It’s fun, getting into your hometown show,” she added. “A lot of times, people sometimes show up from a couple hours away, but this one’s ten minutes from me. So it’s really great. Seeing the excitement in the Monster Jam fans’ eyes. The passion they have is absolutely incredible.”
On April 11, from Des Moines, Cozad posted on Instagram: “We only get one shot at this thing called life. Make it count. I’m extremely fortunate and blessed that I wake up every day to live the life I’ve always dreamed of.”
In Des Moines, she claimed her first 2022 event championship, with the win more sweet coming in her home state.
Cozad wields the newest Warner Bros. Monster Jam truck to compete in Monster Jam — bringing the world-famous mystery solving canine, Scooby-Doo into the sport, which debuted in 2013. The monster truck was specially designed to resemble the beloved Great Dane.
“My driving style has become more and more aggressive. I love to get big air and keep the fans on the edge of their seats,” Cozad added. “My style, I would consider, to be more aggressive but I’ve watched a lot. This year especially, I’ve been on tour with great drivers. I mean, they’re all great drivers and great competitors.”
Tickets for the Saturday Monster Jam shows are $24 to $64, available HERE for 1 p.m. and HERE for 7 p.m., or the arena box office, 1201 River Drive, Moline. For more information, visit the Monster Jam website.