YORKTON – Among the many vendors at the Parkland Outdoor Show and Expo were representatives from Action Trackchair.
The Action Trackchair is "a twin tracked, electric wheelchair with the power and traction to traverse grass, mud, sand, snow, to climb and forge water", according to a description on the company's website, ActionTrackchair.com.
"It's an all-terrain wheelchair meant for people with disabilities to get out in the wilderness and hunt," said Bobbie Cherepuschak, a representative at the booth and operator of an Action Trackchair.
Cherepuschak, a Lumsden man who was born with spina bifida, has been hunting for 21 years and spearheaded the movement to change the regulations that would allow people with disabilities to use them for hunting purposes.
"Back in 2018 I was at the Parkland Outdoor Show and Expo here, and I was the winner of the Access to the Outdoors Pheasant Hunt– I was going to take one of these chairs if I could get it rented through the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, but then I realized that the rules in the province wouldn't allow me to take it."
"The government classified these wheelchairs as a motorized ATV," said Cherepuschak, adding, "I had to convince them it wasn't an ATV – it was a mode of transportation for someone who had limited to no use of their legs, like myself."
Cherepuschak's quest to have the rules changed started in 2019 when he met with Regina Rosemont MLA, Trent Wotherspoon.
"I met up with [MLA Trent Wotherspoon] in Regina one night, and we got talking," said Cherepuschak, adding, "I got his contact info and I sent him a text message to say what I wanted done, and he jumped on it right away, like a dirty sock, and it took us about two years– in time for the 2021 hunting season."
"Basically, these chairs will do anything you want them to do- whether it's going out in the field, going hunting, going for a walk on the beach- I've even got a snow plow for the front of mine," said Cherepuschak, noting, "It'll push a foot of snow- no problem."
Cherepuschak said the chairs are built in Marshall, Minn., and have recently made their way to the Canadian market over the last couple of years with dealerships as close as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.