Mason Hopkins is mainly quiet, perhaps a tad shy, but sports a bright smile that he displays more often than not. He will chime into a discussion when asked a direct question.
His demeanor may not depict the bravado of a national champion, but that is what the Symsonia Elementary School fourth-grader is.
Hopkins is the 2019 ATVMX national titleholder at the ripe old age of nine. Out of his eight-race circuit, he has one final race this weekend at Loretta Lynn's Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, ranch.
For most 4-wheel drivers, the "Coal Miner's Daughter" ranch's race - dubbed a "Super Bowl of ATV racing" - will be where they will be crowned national champions. But for Hopkins, he already racked up the needed points with several prior top finishes that he claimed his title at a race in New York two weeks ago.
He began racing four-wheelers when he was as old as the number of wheels and has loved the sport ever since.
He started out with a Power Wheels four-wheeler and just wanted to race.
"I kept saying, 'Go faster,'" he recalled.
His dad, Kyle Hopkins, had a friend who suggested the family visit Lynn's ranch to watch a race.
"We were green as gourds," Kyle Hopkins said. But he eventually drove to Columbus, Ohio, to purchase Mason's first racing four-wheeler. Afterward, Mason raced on outdoor and indoor race circuits.
"The first year and a half, people would say, 'He's got it,'" he added. "I never thought when we started we'd be where we are now."
Mason's dad even joked he certainly never thought he'd drive 17 hours to New York for a race … but they did.
Mason is one of four 2019 national champions affiliated with JC Racing of Benton, Illinois. But he already has plenty of other titles, including 2016 TMXA 50cc champion, 2017 ATVMX runner-up, 2017-18 Mid-America Quad 50cc champion, and AMA state championships in South Carolina, Tennessee and Illinois, to go along with his 50cc national award.
Asked where he keeps all his trophies, Mason said his mom, Megan, just stacks them up in his room.
While he also plays on a travel basketball team and enjoys hunting and fishing, Mason's goal is to become a professional ATV racer. What keeps him going, he said, is winning and the jumps on the mile to mile-and-a-half course that he takes against eight to 10 other riders in his races.
He thanked his supporters of his mom, dad and 1-year-old brother Kyson, along with his mechanic, Jerod Corn, and his faith in Jesus.