Home » Sports » Iola-Scandy Sports » From Grave Digger to King Sling

From Grave Digger to King Sling

Dennis Anderson meets Landan Lange of Part Washington in front of Anderson’s King Sling monster truck at the Iola Car Show. Holly Neumann Photo

Monster truck icon keeps rolling

By Greg Seubert

He may be retired, but Dennis Anderson isn’t quite ready to give up on a career that made him a household name in the world of monster trucks.

He was easy to find at this year’s Iola Car Show, which wrapped up July 8 in Iola. All show visitors had to do was look for King Sling, Anderson’s giant green monster truck.

“Growing up as a kid, my goal in life was to be a farmer,” said Anderson, who grew up and still lives in North Carolina. “I stepped off of the farm with an old 1951 Ford pickup truck with tractor tires off of a combine. We didn’t have (racing) competitions back then, but we started having them. One of the farm workers – his dad owned the operation – was picking on my old rusty junk pickup. I said, ‘Take this junk and dig your grave.’ I took a can of spray paint and put ‘Grave Digger’ on the side of my truck. I dug him a grave with my big tractor tire truck and I’ve been the Grave Digger ever since. That was 1982.”

Grave Digger eventually became the most well-known truck on the Monster Jam circuit. Anderson drove more than 30 different versions of the truck from 1982 until retiring from competition in 2017.

“I just started putting bigger tires on that same truck and the Grave Digger got popular,” he said. “I started going around to fairgrounds. It was me driving and it was unique. It was a ‘51 Ford in the beginning, then it was a 1950 Chevy for the rest of its career. It just stands out over all the other trucks because it had a round body and a spooky paint job with a skull head and a graveyard scene on the side.”

King Sling is part of Dennis Anderson’s Extreme Monster Truck Experience, in which fans can ride in the truck with Anderson at a track at Digger’s Dungeon in North Carolina.

“I retired on my 35th anniversary,” he said. “My kids have been on the track with me. My oldest son’s been doing it 19 years. I have three sons and a daughter and they all drive Grave Digger trucks. They’re in competition this weekend in different parts of the United States.

“I’m very fortunate that my kids followed in my footsteps,” he added. “I never thought that they would. I didn’t want to haggle them too much about it. There was probably a point in their life when they didn’t want to do it because I was gone all the time. Once the oldest one stepped over and started playing trucks hardcore with me and the other ones saw him turning into this superstar, they wanted to be like their big brother. They love what they do and they cherish the fans because they know the fans are the ones that supported their old man with Grave Digger.”

Scroll to Top