Globetrotting Tonganoxie couple prepares for monster truck race a little closer to home

Tonganoxie drivers compete in Wichita this weekend

Jimmy Creten operates his monster truck, Bounty Hunter, during a show in Las Vegas in 2009. Creten and his wife, Dawn, who drives Scarlet Bandit, will be competing today and Saturday at the Monster Jam Thunder Nationals in Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena.

Jimmy and Dawn Creten have been all over the globe competing in monster truck events.

On Friday and Saturday, the Tonganoxie couple will be much closer to home.

They will race in the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Thunder Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena.

Jimmy drives the monster truck known as Bounty Hunter, while Dawn drives Scarlet Bandit.

“If people want to come out, we don’t run too much around this area,” Jimmy said. “It should be a great show.”

On the road doing shows nearly every weekend of the year, Jimmy said he’s been to a variety of venues: Israel, Canada and Mexico to name a few.

Though the Wichita venue is a basketball arena, he’s competed in much larger venues, such as the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Intrust Bank Arena seats 15,000; Texas Stadium seats 80,000.

Getting started

Mud racing was a hobby of Jimmy’s before he went to college, graduating from Kansas State University in 1988 and then attending Kansas College of Technology, now KSU-Salina, for flight school. He later became interested in monster racing, again, as a hobby.

But when he was laid off from his job as an engineer, he decided to go into business for himself. A hobby turned into a career.

He also met his wife. While competing at the state fair in North Dakota — Dawn is from Bismark — Jimmy met her at an Alabama concert also happening at the fair.

“I don’t think she even knew what a monster truck was,” Jimmy said about Dawn when they met.

But she started driving and “was a natural,” Jimmy said. “She’s an awesome driver.”

Dawn has driven for the past 11 years off.

The couple has three children, Hope, 10, Faith, 9, and Journey, 4. The children accompany their parents for some of the shows, but Dawn said her sister takes care of them when they don’t make the trips.

Hope and Faith went to shows when they were younger, but haven’t made trips as often once they were old enough to start school.

“They’re not overly excited to be on the road anymore,” Dawn said.

Competing in Wichita

At this weekend’s events, the Cretens will compete in wheelie and doughnut contests — who can make the most doughnuts with their tires in a certain amount of time — as well as a drag racing-type competition and freestyle.

“You go out and ham it up, basically,” Jimmy said.

Like Jimmy, Dawn is eager to compete in Wichita.

“We rarely really get in anything within 12 hours of here,” she said.

For more about the Wichita event, look for upcoming shows at