Meet Your Neighbor: Serina Hays |

Meet Your Neighbor: Serina Hays

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunSerina Hays

Sometimes an executive assistant and other times a puppeteer for Robosaurus

Robosaurus is the worlds largest entertainment robot. It is 42-feet tall, 65,000 pounds, and it picks up cars and rips them apart in its massive jaws and sets them on fire. My father created it. He is the owner and operator. The concept was based on transformers back in the 80s. They wanted to build the biggest toy they could. They wanted it to do Monster Truck shows, air shows, amusement parks and parades. And it is now a TV star.

It has been on the Simpsons. They did a parody on it. It has been on Jay Leno and on Ripleys Believe It Or Not. It was also on the ABC reality show My Kind of Town. It went down the main street of a tiny town in Alabama. It was also in a movie, Waking Up in Reno with Billy Bob Thornton. Were in the finale and we eat his brand new pimped out Suburban. It is most recently the star of the Toyota Tacoma commercial. It is so fun to see it come on. The funny thing is my dad hasnt even seen it yet. I have seen it 10 times. It took us a week to shoot it. We were on the cover of LIFE magazine last year. Thats when we knew we made it. Its an icon like Mickey Mouse, but a lot bigger and more treacherous. He has his own Web site at

I am one of the operators. My dad is the only driver that is inside the head of the robot. It takes a four man crew to operate the robot. Besides the driver, there are three people on the ground. One is a director communicating distance. He is the main head for that show. Then there is a camera that transmits a video to the TV monitor in the head. Sometimes that is my job and sometimes there is a board strapped to me. It is remote controlled. It operates all the special effects including fire, jaw and ears. I almost set someone on fire once, but it was fine. It was a clown.

I believe I was about 6 or 7 years old. I remember him bringing home these plans of this robot. My mom and I thought he was crazy when he would sit down with these plans and say he was going to build it. But he built it. The first time I started operating the video I was 13. On the transformer part, it is its own trailer. It will fold up and become its own trailer. Hes got all kinds of toys, but this is just his biggest one. He has two partners one was an aerospace engineer that did the technical design. My dad and his other partner built it. It is always an experience. New things always happen. It is the largest and most complicated and technologically-advanced robot of his kind. There are smaller ones, but they dont compare. Weve held that spot for 15 years.

All over the U.S. and Canada and as far away as Sydney, Australia twice. It is a great way to travel. We just spent a month in Florida at Universal Studios shooting Halloween Horror Night.

That is a hard one. So many things go wrong all the time and it is always during the show. We will lose an arm and we will have to finish a show, but no one ever notices. There are things that happen that are always unexpected. You can never anticipate what we will lose or what will go wrong. If we can get through a show without anything happening, it is a miracle. He [the robot] is very moody.

Just pure jaw-dropping amazement. The kids are the best. They think it is the greatest thing they have ever seen.

When you travel around, you get to know different areas. And when you find a place, you appreciate it that much more. It is the community and the beauty of Tahoe. It is wild like Robosaurus is. It attracted me.

I will be singing, snowboard instructor, server. All things that can really work around shows with Robosaurus. Liquor promotions I do that too. Cuervo, Guinness, Baileys Smirnoff, Captain Morgans. I cant complain. It is fun. All thanks to my dad. The Suns Kara Fox interviewed Hays for Meet Your Neighbor. Please send your suggestions for Meet Your Neighbor to

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