Four years ago Trent Hickie was farming around Melville, much the same as many people in the Yorkton area do, making a living putting seed in the ground and working himself to the bone.
But then something changed. Hickie went a little crazy. A little insane.
He became a Maniac.
Or rather, he purchased one in the form of a monster truck from legendary Canadian monster truck driver Don Frankish.
Hickie, the hard working farmer from the Killaly/Grayson area, literally sold the farm to purchase the truck/chassis and Maniac trademark, with his wife’s support of course. “A couple of years back my wife and I made the decision to quit farming, so we sold the farm and it gave us the opportunity to get into motor sports and monster trucks especially,” explained the 38-year-old father of three. “So then I bought the Jurassic Attack chassis at first and then, after further conversation with Don, we decided to buy the Maniac trademark from him.
“It was a well-known truck in the Monster Jam world so it got us a way in with a lot of promoters for bigger shows right off the bat.”
But the question remains: why would someone give up something they’ve done nearly their entire life for something as outrageous as driving a monster truck?
Well, for Hickie the reason is all too simple. “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do as a kid,” said a smiling Hickie. “It started out right here in Yorkton. I attended my very first show about 20 years ago and fell in love with it and it’s just something I’ve wanted to do since then.”
However Hickie has found out that driving a monster truck is not as simple as hopping in the seat and pressing the loud pedal. It’s far more complicated than that. Fun, but complicated. “I’m having a lot of fun with it but it took a long time,” said the man who traded in the John Deere tractor for a 1500 horsepower monster truck. “It takes a lot of time to get your timing just right so the truck does what you want it to do.”
But driving a monster truck is not unlike farming, where a neighbour will lend you a hand if you need one. The same holds true for monster trucks; something Hickie quickly found out when he became a member of the monster truck family. “I found out that everyone helps each other out. They’ll mention how something didn’t work out and then they’ll suggest things to do to improve. You just get a lot of help from everybody in the Monster Truck community,” said Hickie, continuing, “I’ve gotten a lot of help from Don and the other guys, like Bill (Payne) and Barry (Parkin), who coach you when they watch you and offer you valuable advice.”
The advice Hickie has received must be good, because the man from just down Highway 10 put together two of his best freestyle runs ever in front of what is considered to be his hometown event in Yorkton. “Those are probably two of my best that I’ve done so far. I let it all hang out the last two nights during freestyle,” beamed Hickie.
What makes it more special is the fact that Hickie put together his best freestyles in front of the ones he loves the most. “My parents were here Friday in fact and my wife and three daughters were here tonight (Saturday). It always makes it a little bit better when my daughters and wife are here. You try to give it that little bit extra for them.”
And as for performing in front of the rest of the rabid Maniac fans in attendance? “It was great. Having two sold-out shows in a row was awesome.
“I can’t wait to come back to Yorkton for another show.”
And judging by the attendance at the show and the talk around the town, another event highlighted by a Maniac freestyle cannot come to Yorkton too soon.