GREENFIELD — Youngsters lined up for autographs with their checkered flags, photos, shirts, and even their arms extended. They stared in wonder at the blonde teenager standing before them, donning a boyish smile and a fire suit.
Colton Kiser isn’t much older than many of the kids asking for his autograph, yet he is already a local celebrity. No, more like a rock star.
Kiser loves it. He spends every possible minute talking to each fan who walks by his truck during the Pit Party prior to the monster truck show at the Hancock County 4-H Fair Sunday evening.
He signs autographs and poses for photos with any fan who wants one.
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“Yesterday, during our intermission at Corydon, there were kids who wanted to get up on the tire for a picture,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you how many autographs I sign, it’s a large number.”
The son of Richie and Connie Kiser, Colton, 14, lives in Maxwell and, despite being two years away from being able to get a driver’s license, has been involved in driving in various forms his whole life. His father has worked on trucks for better than the last decade and it just seemed to rub off.
“I’ve been around this since before I can remember,” Colton said. “I’ve grown up in it, been around drivers my whole life, and it’s something I enjoy doing.”
“There was a guy that had a few mini-monsters at one of the shows,” Richie Kiser said. “So, during the day, while we were working on the trucks, Colton was there. One day they gave him a chance to get behind the wheel of a mini-monster and it just sort of went from there.”
Colton is active in the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 242, so much so that name of his mini-monster truck, “American Scout,” pays homage to this important part of his life.
“I’m currently a Star Scout,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll make Eagle Scout. I think I have one or two requirements left until I’m a Life Scout, then I’ll have to figure out what project I want to do for my Eagle Scout.”
Colton isn’t just a driver, if “American Scout” is in need of repairs, he can do that work as well.
“If I happen to break something while we’re out on the road, we’ll pull it in the shop and I’ll help my dad get it apart,” he said. “One of the biggest things we break is axle shafts. Which is no big deal, we can get the rear end taken apart on this truck in 15 minutes, maybe 20.”
The pre-race meet-and-greet time ended Sunday as fans headed to their seats. But more young admirers approached the fence and Colton refused to stop signing.
“Are you excited about the show,” he asks the smiling youngsters. “Which truck is your favorite?”
Invariably, the shy kids point to “American Scout,” which makes Colton smile.
“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC begins booming over the grandstand PA system, the signal to the drivers to get in their trucks and for the fans to take their seats.
The announcer tells the drivers to fire their engines and introduces each participant. Colton and “American Scout” roll through the gate onto the track and the crowd roars its approval.