George Balhan never imagined himself working behind a desk. Instead, the Monster Jam driver sits behind the Mohawk Warrior—a 1,500 horsepower monster truck with 66" Terra Tires and a 540 CI Merlin engine.
Balhan brought his Mohawk Warrior to West Caldwell Thursday to talk to students in Essex County Vo-Tech High School’s automotive department.
The visit was one of many Monster Jam has arranged across the country to enlighten vo-tech students about the opportunities available to them, Balhan said.
“We think it opens a lot more doors for these kids,” he said, explaining that many crew members in the Monster Jam world came from vo-tech schools.
Balhan, with his razor-sharp black Mohawk, hails from Chicago and started out racing motocross. The Redondo Beach, Calif. resident said he never envisioned himself driving monster trucks, but by the attention he was getting Thursday from the students, he seems to have landed the right career.
The popular driver signed autographs, posed for pictures and answered students' questions about Monster Jam truck technology for about an hour.
West Caldwell Tech Principal Chetram Sangh said more than 20 schools around the state competed for this visit from Monster Jam.
“This is expanding their horizons,” Sangh said. “It’s a once in a lifetime. We never had a monster truck brought here.”
The behemoth truck parked on the front lawn of the school on Passaic Avenue drew lots of attention from passersby. After getting a call about the unusual sighting, Matt Iellimo of Whippany hopped in his car with his three-year-old triplets for a photo-op with the Mohawk Warrior.
Iellimo said his son Matteo is a huge fan of Monster Jam and he was already wearing a monster truck t-shirt that day to prove it.
Fans from New Jersey and New York will have a chance to see the Mohawk Warrior and a fleet of 15 other of the most popular Monster Jam trucks compete when Monster Jam’s Path of Destruction stops at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Saturday, June 16.