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2024 Hall of Fame: Tyler Groth

June 7, 2024

Tyler Groth grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington, with his two brothers. One of his favorite memories is the many hours spent working on family vehicles with his dad and grandpa. When he wasn’t working on vehicles, he would modify remote control cars, boats, and airplanes. For his 16th birthday, Tyler and his twin brother, Travis, acquired their first vehicle, a 1977 CJ-7. During the drive home, the CJ caught fire. That experience only spurred Tyler’s desire to refine his skills in repairing and modifying vehicles. The CJ-7 would later become an important part of the twins’ WyoTech future, as Tyler made it into a four-door in Street Rod before Jeep even offered four-door Wranglers, while Travis built an all-new frame in Chassis Fabrication.

Jeeping became his main hobby for many years, which, as any good Jeeper knows, can lead to a lot of broken parts. Tyler spent many hours after school and on the weekends modifying the suspensions, engines, transmissions, and stereos. After high school, he attended community college, and then decided to go to WyoTech with Travis and his best friend from high school, Dan.

Tyler moved to Laramie and started in the Diesel Technology program, and then moved onto Street Rod and Custom Fabrication. He remembers WyoTech being very hands-on, which helped him easily learn the material. WyoTech’s schooling structure, with five days a week, a strict attendance policy, clean-up requirements at the end of each day, and encouragement of community involvement, prepared Tyler for his future career. Tyler received multiple job offers through the career fair at WyoTech, and accepted a job with Kiewit Pacific two weeks after graduation.

After his time with Kiewit, Tyler moved back home to Gig Harbor and took a position with DBM Contractors. One weekend, Tyler and Travis attended a monster truck show in Puyallup, Washington, and met Joe Cypher, the driver of the monster truck “Airborne Ranger”. Tyler recognized this as an exciting potential future job change. To learn more about the industry, Tyler spent his weekends and any available vacation/sick days driving and helping crew for many monster truck teams.

In 2010, Tyler and his brother Travis left their steady jobs and jumped into the monster truck industry to launch their own team brand, Mirror Image Racing. So many of the things Tyler learned at WyoTech prepared him for this crazy adventure. Some of those skills that are crucial to monster truck upkeep are the knowledge of: hydraulic systems, differentials, planetaries, complex electrical systems, welding, fiberglass, and painting.

The adventure has had its highs and lows, but the knowledge acquired from WyoTech has allowed Tyler to dig in and restore parts others would have counted as a loss. The elbow grease and late nights finally paid off when, in 2014, Mirror Image built a second truck and toured with Monster Jam. In the years that have followed, monster trucking has taken Tyler all over the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

In 2020, Tyler moved back to Laramie with his wife and three kids to raise their family and be more centrally located. Living in Laramie has also afforded Tyler the opportunity to speak at WyoTech on multiple occasions, as well as host students and instructors in his monster truck shop space. This year, a team of WyoTech students also put in hours helping construct a new monster truck chassis for the Mirror Image team. By guest speaking at WyoTech, Tyler hopes to inspire the next generation of students to set big goals and a strong work ethic for their futures.

When we asked Tyler what advice he would give to someone who was just starting his or her journey in the trades, here’s what he had to say-

I would say to get as much out of schooling as you can. Sometimes it may seem like a certain subject or class is not important- however, I have used every skill I learned at WyoTech at some point in my career. Also, if you are not happy with what you are doing or where your career is headed, don’t be afraid to make a change. Figuring out what makes a job less mindless will make it so much more enjoyable.

People always say that racing monster trucks must be one of the coolest jobs on the planet. It is, but it didn’t come easy. It takes a lot of hard work to make your dreams a reality. I was once told by a fan to “Stay focused and be impressive.” That has always felt like a good motto to go by in life.