It can plow through a foot of fresh snow with ease, climb steep hills and traverse rugged prairie terrain.
After time spent advocating for better accessibility for hunters in Saskatchewan, a Lumsden outdoorsman raised the money needed to purchase a specialized, all-terrain wheelchair.
This past hunting season he used it to go off the road and into the wild for the first time in his life.
“It was the first time I’d ever been off the road, into the bush, and you know, to be totally honest, it chokes me up whenever I think about it,” said Bobbie Cherepuschakm, who has been embracing the outdoors his whole life despite being born with spina bifida.
“I saw totally different areas that I’ve never seen before in my life. I’ve seen them in videos and on Youtube and Hunting shows and all that, but I’ve never got to experience it in first person.”
Cherepuschak has a permit to hunt from a truck outfitted for shooting. But that truck couldn’t leave the road, and Bobbie was unable to track or retrieve wildlife.
Cherepuschak’s Action Trackchair cost about $25,000 and was shipped to Regina from Marshall, Minn.
He’s accessorized the chair with a snow blade, as well as mounts that can hold a fishing rod, hold his gun while he travels, and provide a stable gun rest for shooting.
It even has a cup holder.
Cherepuschak has started a YouTube channel with which he hopes to highlight the chair’s capabilities.
“I wanted to show people that this chair is built like a tank. And it’ll literally go through anything,” he said, adding that he thinks the chair has enough power to pull a white-tailed deer across a field and even a moose if the field is covered in snow.
Last March, Cherepuschak told Global News about how he was disappointed to discover, after researching motorized wheelchairs, that the machines would be considered ATVs by the province’s Ministry of Environment.
The use of ATVs by hunters is severely limited in Saskatchewan farmland areas, partly because of the dangers they could pose to crops.
But, with the help of Regina Rosemont MLA Trent Wotherspoon, Cherepuschak successfully argued that the chairs would help disabled hunters and hikers explore areas people would otherwise access on foot.
Last year, permit options for hunters with disabilities were expanded to include the use of motorized wheelchairs.
Speaking Saturday, Wotherspoon told Global News how inspiring it has been to see Cherepuschak achieve his goal.
“I think it’s an important reminder to all of the power of a person, in this case Bobbie, using their voice and pushing for change in a constructive way, and making it happen,” Wotherspoon said.
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