Shelby Crackston was born to a middle class, blue collar family in rural Alberta Canada. With automotive being her main passion she has been blessed many amazing opportunities. Spending time at Sema in 2018 behind the Magnaflow booth as well as repping brands like Mastercraft and also working in the race car industry! Follow along as I go in depth with her and what led her to her current path in life.
"Tell us a little about yourself and how you identify in this beautiful world".
My name is Shelby Crackston. I am a born and raised Canadian – Albertan actually. I am a very energetic, kind and very driven woman. I love fitness, health, sports, hiking, axe throwing, shooting, music, art, and of course, working with machines. I love anything with adrenaline.
"What do you for a living and why?
"I actually have multiple careers. I have personal training clients in the mornings from 4 am to 6 am, then work as a mechanic after that until 6-8 pm and work with race cars in the downtime or for booked events. I love fixing things even if I’m cussing during the process. I am always eager to learn, love physical labour, keeping the body moving. All 3 of my jobs make me feel alive. Although winters here are hard on my hands, tendons and ligaments so I do have a lot of pain most days. I will have to ease up working in a shop hopefully many years down the road though".
"I am very passionate about living a healthy, positive lifestyle. I have so much energy so why not put it to good use helping to motivate and change someone else’s life…show them they can live a positive, happy life and live it to their greatest potential!"
" What was your childhood like?"
"My childhood I am very grateful for. I grew up sort of middle class. Always had a pretty decent roof over my head, lots of food on the table and money to support my activities. I was fortunate to spend time at my grandparents farm (on my mom’s side) roaming around the land helping with animals and chores and spending lots of time building and fixing things for fun. I was always outside. I spent time a couple of weeks one summer learning to ride a horse…bareback…way taller than me! It was satisfying when I could finally throw my leg over and get on without any help. I got to spend a couple of weeks there every summer and of course we visited about every other weekend growing up.
"I grew up very active with sports, self-defence, mountain/cross country running, soccer and track. I started going to the race track when I was very little. Fun Fact: my whole life I have had issues sleeping (I maybe sleep two- three hours a night). My parents found out that I was at ease and calm enough to sleep as nitro and funny cars ran down the track (with hearing protection of course). Apparently a lot of Texan folks have photos of me sleeping in the stands! I was always very interested in what my dad had in the garage. I always wanted to help him and would bug him to go in the garage to work".
"Who/what were your greatest inspirations growing up"?
"I would have to say my greatest inspiration growing up were my grandparents and how driven and hardworking they were (and still are). It did not matter the weather -50 or pouring rain, they would be out doing farm work. I have to thank both of my parents for saying I have to work hard. My mom especially…she would always say “Try your very best, doesn’t matter if it is not 100% grade, does not matter what you are doing just make sure you give it YOUR ALL.” She was always encouraging no matter what I wanted to try."
" What were your biggest challenges growing up and what are some challenges you face today?"
I guess I was always underestimated. I was always about a third of the size of everyone but I had an older brother that would wrestle with me making me much stronger than anyone else near my age. My father worked out of town most of my life. Anytime he was in town I always wanted to work in the garage and learn off of him but he had no interest. I do not know if he is fully old school mentality but he sure does not like the careers I chose being a mechanic or a personal trainer. Growing up and even now that is a touchy subject. Everything I learned to do with cars was from hobbies, work and automotive schooling. Sadly, I never had that fun mentorship from my father that I would have loved.
"I have had horrible experiences with certain males in the automotive industry as many took kindness the wrong way. I deal with daily hostility, sneers behind my back and snubbing. Tools get stolen from me at work here and there. And it’s not my imagination…my coworkers see it as well. For instance I had one parts person ask me out and when I respectfully said no the response was “no just means you don’t know what you want, shouldn’t be turning me down.” I actually shut myself down emotionally for a few years due to how society works with rumours and disapproving of a female in the industry. An older gentleman asked me out to dinner which I also declined and suddenly a whole group of men of the same ethnicity shunned me. I could go on and on.
"People say that’s bullying, that’s harassment, go to the Labour Board…well not if you want to keep your job you don’t. As a woman in a male dominated field you do not want to stir that pot as unfair as it is. I have some really supportive coworkers and a great boss. They keep an eye and should it ever get to a dangerous stage the situation will be dealt with. Meantime I stay positive, keep my head up and do me. I do my absolute best not to let them get to me. There’s always a positive out of every situation so I stick to that".
"How do you overcome them?
"I have had to grow a very thick skin but I use a lot of humour to combat the ugly side of things. I put my all into work and studies. Thankfully I have a ridiculously high work ethic. In 2012 I had a friend who asked for me to help and work with him in a rally league here (CRC). I was eager to learn as much as I could as I was working towards a heavy duty mechanic apprenticeship at the time. With all the hard work, I actually had a life changing experience in 2013 where I was answering a man’s numerous emails of engine questions. I answered them all and got a response “How about you just come show us”, and sent me the location. I took a SCARY leap, accepted the request and flew out from Canada to California to work with a race car for an event. After that event I wanted nothing more than to work with race cars. Of course, that didn’t pay the bills so I kept doing personal training in the mornings, mechanic at a dealership every day and whatever race events pop up I work for them. I work for a time attack driver, Devin Hoffman, and in Formula Drift, Brandon Schmidt. I travel the world for race events. I’ve made many lifelong friends and have had so many wonderful experiences that it more than makes up for the difficulties in this industry. It doesn’t matter how many people have treated me badly, it only drives me to work even harder and better myself as a person."
"What are some ways you decompress?"
"I typically decompress by running very long distances on mountains, trails or my treadmill. I use drawing when my hands are not in pain. Drifting my Skyline or simply taking it out for a cruise helps too. And baths! Soaking in a tub is amazing! Once in a while a proper Old Fashioned with a good bourbon soaked cherry is just what I want."
What are some of your passions and why?
"Activity is my first passion. I love axe throwing, hiking mountains, travelling, running and sports but I also really enjoy art, cooking, designing, building and creating. I am obsessed with working as a mechanic at race events – such an amazing feeling. I am in love with music. It is always around me as I also love supporting bands out there. I always love to improve myself my learning new things. I always have to be active, doing something productive. I always find my mind is hyperactive. I am all about efficiency and having everything work at its greatest potential".
What are some brands you support and why?
"33TENCO. is a group I support. They started up in 2018 and are focused on building a community of support for mental health issues. You may have seen their shirts with “She Slays”. I am proud to help them with this initiative by wearing their gear in support.
"CRAFTSMAN TOOLS also approached me and donated a lot of power tools and wrenches for me to try out. They are really great for every day, have an excellent warranty and I am happy to support the brand. Any mechanic can tell you how expensive tools are and I sincerely appreciate Craftsman reaching out to me with their product".
Do you have a self-care beauty regiment and what are some products you swear by?
"To be blunt, this is actually an area I have no clue about. My mom instilled in me how necessary a good cleansing routine was when I was in my early teens and especially after working with cars. I have always had problem skin with hormonal acne and on top of that it’s really dry, and obviously I have a dirty job. I recently discovered DRUNK ELEPHANT and have been using a number of their products with great results.
"I don’t know anything about make up really. I’m not a heavy makeup user at all I mostly concentrate on enhancing my eyes and use a bit of that cover up stuff if I need something.
"I use ROCKY MOUNTAIN SOAP COMPANY. for hand soap and add apricot seeds to get the stubborn grease off of my hands.
"My hair I use KEVIN MURPHY shampoo and conditioner. I just try to take care of my hair, cut off any split ends here and there when I notice them. My hair is very fine and not thick at all which sucks."
If you had one thing to say to the young women in trades/arts etc. what would it be?
"Do you! Be yourself and stay out of the drama. People say women cause a lot of drama…wait until you work in a male dominated environment! I have a policy now that I do not date anyone from my work environment and I stick to that."
If you want to know more about this amazing babe please head to her IG @Crackston, give her a follow, say hello and creep her feed to find some amazing inspiration.
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