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Controlled hobby

By ABBY BELDEN

abelden@dailynews.net

Picking out the perfect truck can take a lot of work.

There are different body styles, tires and upgrades, and what happens if it breaks?

Luckily, Hays Hobby Shop has it all covered -- for radio-controlled vehicles, anyway.

"We have the full line of Traxxas," said Darrel Goheen, who runs the shop. "We pretty much have everything Traxxas sells in electric vehicles."

While the store carries a variety of brands, Goheen said Traxxas is the leader of the R/C truck markets.

The hobby shop offers a variety of radio-controlled trucks, cars, boats, helicopters and planes.

The hobby shop was the idea of Goheen, who has been working with and selling R/C vehicles for approximately two years.

Goheen said he and his wife, Glenda, wanted to start an online R/C business, but to offer competitive prices, a brick and mortar building was required.

The issue was the lack of space, but a partnership with Jeff and Marla Copper -- who own Copper's Carts -- offered a solution at 1905 General Custer.

The doors opened Oct. 1, and the popularity of the sport picked up speed.

"We are finding it's a lot more popular than we had originally thought," Goheen said. "We weren't really planning on that much local business. But the local business has been a lot more than we expected, and it seems to be growing all the time, as far as local interests."

When it comes to the power source for the R/C vehicles, there are two models.

"There's nitro power, but those are becoming less popular all the time because electrics have advanced so much in the last couple of years," he said.

The nitro-powered models require nitro-fuel, which can cost approximately $12 a quart, while one battery costs $50 and can be recharged.

Goheen said the electric cars are a little cheaper in the long run.

The hobby shop also offers a space for R/C enthusiasts to practice their handling skills and time their vehicles.

"We have a track right out here in front of the building," Goheen said. "It's an off-road track, and we have had a couple races and plan to have races pretty often. We have a timing system and everything for them."

The R/C vehicles can reach speeds between 30 mph and 60 mph, while some models can reach up to 100 mph.

With high speeds and continued use, repairs come into the picture sooner or later.

"We also repair the trucks here, too," he said. "If somebody breaks them and doesn't want to fix them themselves, we will repair them for them, put the parts on for them."

Michael Copper, a full-time employee at the store and son of Jeff and Marla Copper, said there really is no "average" day for him.

"It just depends," Copper said. "On a really nice day, there is a bunch of people outside on the track. If not, sometimes they bring trucks in to get worked on."

Goheen said while the hobby can get expensive, the repair parts the store sells are of hobby grade -- or repairable -- and can be cheaper in the long run.

"We've had several people that come from Walmart type stuff and are tired of spending $50 to $100 and then throwing it away," Goheen said. "You can spend a little more, then you're able to repair it. And the repair parts really aren't that expensive."

When it comes to repairing the vehicles, Copper said it's not too difficult.

"It's not too bad, except for when you get trucks like that," he said pointing to the body of a nitro-powered truck missing parts.

But even then, it is not a daunting task.

"It is fun work," Goheen said. "If you can't have fun when you're working, you're doing the wrong thing."