We have lost another friend; R.I.P. Jesse Birgy...


Jess My Friend

When I received the phone call this morning from Deb, Jesse's better half I knew something was wrong right away. Having traveled many many miles with Jessie and been close friends for over twenty years, not only did we all loose a friend and an icon in the monster truck world, but a man that could fix anything. I have seen him many times work on another monster truck just so it could be ready to run for the next show. After everyone elses trucks were running, Jesse would then work on his. Again many time all Jesse ever got was maybe a "THANK YOU". When someone had a problem with a truck and needed an answer the word was "CALL JESSE". Going way back to the Torgerson shows and before, Jesse was always a crowd pleaser. He would think of nothing to turn the old Playn 4 Keeps over just to entertain the crowd. He and I built many of the Ice Tracks for "Monsters on Ice". After Jesse sold his truck he told me he said he was finally glad to spend some time doing what he liked and that was a little hunting. After all these years he finally had a real job that he didn't have to worry about the next paycheck being there. I will miss those weekly phone calls we would have, along with the laughter, the stories, and the great times and miles we spent on the road together. God Speed my friend, Bobby Paul
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Well-Known Member
Very sad to hear.

I think monster truck drivers' deaths affect us completely differently than many sports fans, even versus casual fans of monster trucks. Unlike most sports were the athletes or drivers are less accessible, interaction with monster truck drivers can be very personal and frequent. It is very easy to get to know and become friends with drivers, which makes it more difficult when something tragic happens. It is more likely that we are losing a friend rather than simply someone we cheered for. Don't get me wrong, death is always sad, but it is different when you know someone as a person rather than an occupation or position. I really think of the industry as a family and so it really does hurt when something bad happens. Even if we didn't know a person personally, simply seeing those that did know the person hurt, hurts us too.


Well-Known Member
I remember seeing jesse run in quincy years ago, when i was little. I remember they had some skit where they pulled a car out onto the track and something about the driver parked in the wrong spot and needed to move his car. the announcer goes whoever owns this car needs to get they're *** out here and move it or else we're gonna have one of the monster trucks crush it. and then the crowd started counting down from 10 and then jesse pulled out and ran over it haha. RIP Jesse :(


Well-Known Member
I remember watching Jesse Birgy on Tuff Trax and always rooting for him. Even with all the USA-1s and Equalizers and Bigfoot 8s, I always rooted for Jesse to be the underdog that would upset one of the major contenders. Even when TNT went under and all the major drivers scattered here and there, whenever I'd go looking around to see where everyone went, Jesse and Playin' for Keeps were always among the first names I looked up, right alongside USA-1 and Andy Brass and Jersey Outlaw and all of my top favorites. He was a good guy, and even just watching on TV, you could tell he loved driving. He will be missed, and my sincere condolences to his family and friends.


Well-Known Member
This is just really sad. I can't believe just how many mt related people have passed already.:( This year is really being suckish. I really liked the first Play'n For Keeps truck. It was a very clean looking machine. That chop-top '89 Chevy was definitely an eye catcher. R.I.P. Jesse...:(

Will Gill

Jesse Birgy - Monster Truck Legend

Jesse was a very dear friend who will be greatly missed. Jesse was always there to help whether you asked him for it or not. He always went all out to make sure the show was awesome. If he was the only one running at freestyle he'd run hard, roll over, get turned back up and go some more to make sure the fans got their money's worth.
If we ever had a question about anything mechanical Jesse was always happy to give his advice.
Jesse was always their to help if I needed it dealing with the tough truck guys or anyone hassling me at the gate. We considered Jesse one of our dearest friends. He will forever be in our hearts and never be forgotten.
Will and Becky Gill

Cale Putnam

Site Admin
This has been one of the toughest years in the sport imaginable. I remember watching Jesse on TV on the TNT shows and especially his tire-loss at the Silverdome USHRA show. A very underrated driver and one who always ran hard regardless of the circumstances. Rest well, Jesse.


Well-Known Member
Saw Jesse in Memphis TN back in 2000 at the Mid South Coliseum. Don't remember much from it but just the look of the truck :) but i can bet he did one heck of a job there. RIP Jesse Birgy

kaila martiallaw

Well-Known Member
Jesse will very surely be missed. He was one of the great ones. I used to hang out with him quite a bit when I was first getting into this industry, and my first few shows that I was booked for were because of him. He helped me out so much when I first got the truck, and had no business owning one. Some of the things I think about when I think of Jesse are our meals at the track. My favorite quote of his is "You buy it. I'll cook it and eat it." Many a hot dog did I eat off the side of his trailer on the little camp stove. Another thing he used to always say, that holds more truth than you'd think at first is "I've forgotten more about this industry than _FILL IN THE BLANK_ will ever know". He was a very knowledgeable man. And I don't know how much he actually forgot. He was a human encyclopedia for monster trucks. He knew every single phone number out there, by memory. I never actually saw him look up a number before. He would just rattle them off to me as I needed them.

Another very cool thing about Jesse was his trophy quirk that he had. If you put a trophy in front of his face, you may as well not even try to get it, because he is going to tear his stuff up to put that thing in his shop. I guarantee there is not a trophy in his collection without a great memory behind it.

"Anything to make one more pass". This is advice I've taken from Jesse many times. I've pulled axles out of my truck, planetaries, zip tied things that should not be zip tied, run on completely busted shocks, and even used silicon to patch a hole in my block that a rod was hanging out of. ANYTHING for one more pass, no matter what it is. This is a guy that never gave up, and if he was going to have anything to do with it, you weren't going to give up either.

I think of Jesse nearly every day. Every single time I get in my truck I think to myself when Kaila is looking up at me from the ground, and I'm eyeballing the racetrack, "Another day in the office". When I'd run around with Jesse, he'd tell me that every day. He'd be all strapped in and ready to go. I'd unhook the battery charger, run under the cab and ask him if everything is cool, he's ready to go. He'd just look at me and say "Just another day in the office".

I just talked to Jesse a couple weeks ago and asked him how his new truck was coming along. Every time I talked to him, I would ask him. He would always tell me he is not building one, but I always did have high hopes for another. He was very happy doing what he was doing, enjoying his time at home and not being on the road. He put a great deal of his life into this and impacted nearly every team out there.

Rest in peace my friend. You're a handy SOB and somebody else must have needed you worse than all of us.



Well-Known Member
My first CFP event I met Big Jes. He taught me how to operate, and run my truck. He was one of the biggest thing that made the business work. When you booked Playin 4 Keeps, you not only got the truck, you got the most knowledge in the business.

This caption is for those that ran with him, I will always remeber....

" Chandler told me back in 1991 that these Predator Carbs would not work, I have to go to Methanol, and Injection. I told him I would take all of his old Predators and out run him with them every week."

There are alot of things that he told me over the years.

He was a promoters dream, He was devoted to the Business...

RIP Big Jes

What is the info for the donations?

Michael Harper


Well-Known Member
i met him twice through the years.always in a happy mood.he gave his all at every show.he will be missed,god bless him and his family.

north star

Well-Known Member
Well this is a sad moment in the industry, i never got to personally talk with jesse, but i got to see him run a handful of shows, and when i would find out that the old playin' 4 keeps truck would be there i knew it would be a **** of a show, the last time i got to see jesse run was a few year backs when jesse would headline the show right along with none other Dave Harkey, i went to all the shows that weekend, i remember seeing jesse make it to all the racing finals and the winning the freestyle, jesse was a star among himself, i loved watching him run because i knew i would get a sweet show, he would always give you your moneys worth

R.I.P. Jesse Birgy you will be greatly missed

Jeff Richards

Well-Known Member
Rest in peace my friend

My heart goes out to your family you will be missed by all .I was so lucky to call you my friend and work by your side at the shows . I will miss your style of driveing and that little green monster truck that everyone said would never run only you could do it . And that door opening up and that great big body of yours trying to get out and wave to the crowed and the words you would say to me as we rolled you over or set you back on all four wheels after sitting there looking at the lights of the arena.( well kid they got there money worth to night now get me runnimg so I can finish this ride.) Fans hold your Glass high God has a new driver and his name is Jesse.

Rest in peace my friend

Jeff Richards