May 15, 201412:40 PMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Run silent, run deep into the woods and fields
What a great product! It’s a wheelchair but it’s not. Instead of wheels it moves on tank-like tracks. That allows it to go where wheelchairs cannot, off the beaten path and into the wild, but silently — unlike the usual all-terrain vehicle. That’s a boon to hunter and birdwatcher alike.
Monica Kamal got her bird on a Trackchair. (Photo by Steve Spaeni)
The Action Trackchair has been manufactured for five years in Marshall, Minn., by entrepreneur Tim Swenson, who has a disabled son. They come in five sizes, weigh 350 pounds, run on two 12-volt wheelchair batteries, are operated by a joystick, and have a range of up to six miles and four hours of continuous use. The smallest costs $10,300. (Their website.)
You can see one live and in color Saturday, June 21, at the Oregon Sportsman’s Club, 1726 Sand Hill Road. The club has partnered with Dane County Pheasants Forever to raise money to purchase a unit to help get wheelchair users out into the wild.
“Anyone who has a mobility challenge will be able to reserve and use the chair,” Sportsman’s Club member Ray Anderson told me.
The idea came from one of the hunter education instructors he works with, Monica Kamal of McFarland. Monica is a member of Access Ability Wisconsin.
“This type of chair has opened up opportunities to Monica and all wheelchair users who previously were not able to get out and really take advantage of Wisconsin’s outdoor resources, whether it be to travel a public trail, bird watch, hunt, fish, get close to the water’s edge, ice-fish, you name it,” Ray said.
Monica used a Trackchair last month to go pheasant hunting.
“It was exhilarating!” she told me. “An incredible experience of being one with nature, independently.”
The June 21 fundraiser at the Oregon Sportsman’s Club runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person; $20 per family qualifies for a cash-prize raffle. Participants will have the opportunity to shoot sporting clays, practice archery at the indoor range, and take a spin in one of the all-terrain wheelchairs. Pig roast throughout the day. (More here.)
American ingenuity meets the American urge to roam free. Love it! Got to think these track chairs could navigate the urban jungle as well; might even be able to negotiate curbs and shallow steps. The Wisconsin dealer is TSS Equipment in Cleveland (between Sheboygan and Manitowoc).
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