Tiny Masters of Monster Tricks
If you’re lucky, your kid will find a passion early on. It might be soccer, horseback riding, or the violin. And if it is monster truck rallies that spark your little one’s enthusiasm? You’re still probably not expecting him (or her) to say, “I don’t want to watch those monster trucks—I want to drive them.”
But that’s exactly what happened when then six-year-old Shane Plato found videos online featuring pint-sized practitioners in the sport of mini-monster trucks. In 2015, then he went from watching drivers on YouTube to being an online sensation himself.
Driving his modified monster truck, lovingly referred to as “Skull Krusher,” the now eight-year-old wunderkind is entrancing audiences around the country. Even folks who aren’t into monster trucks are drawn to the little kid who loves to make his truck rear up in the air like a wild horse.
If you’re having horrific images of a tyke behind the wheel of a truck, rest assured that Shane’s team always has myriad safety precautions in place. First, he joined the Uncle Tod Motorsports’ Kid KJ Team, based in Florida. There, both Shane and his family learned the ins and outs of monster mini trucks. Including flipping the truck completely upside-down.
“We want, need the kids to know what to expect out there,” says Shane’s father, Lee Plato. “If the worst case scenario happens in front of 3,000 people and the kid freaks out, Dad’s going to look like a really big jerk – so, Shane is trained in all variety of driving techniques. He’s very prepared.”
When Shane competes, he and his dad are in constant communication via a head set inside the safety helmet. This allows Lee to coach him at every moment. In addition, Shane never gets behind the wheel unless his father is holding the “kill switch.”
“If Shane ever gets in trouble, I can stop the action immediately, “ says dad Lee. “The last thing we want is for my son to go out there and get hurt.”
Shane is learning early on in life the value of giving back. He regularly donates time to community events and fundraisers.
Catch Shane at the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Half Moon Bay Airport.