Whitehorse’s Darryl Tait is helping the sport of wheelchair motocross evolve as an athlete and grow as a role model.
The 24-year-old took part in RISE Adaptive Sports’ third annual Wheelchair Motocross event over the weekend in Dallas, Texas.
About 40 young wheelchair athletes got a taste of the sport as Tait and a handful of other experienced WCMXers put on a demo, a clinic and a competition at the RISE (Recover, Inspire, Succeed and Empower) event.
“The highlight for me was getting all the kids into it and hanging out with friends I never get to hang out with,” said Tait. “We all learn from each other and keep progressing the sport.
“We’ve met at a few other events, like Life Rolls On, but this weekend we were all staying in the same hotel and got to hang out and got to know each other in a personal level.”
WCMX is basically skateboard and BMX style tricks performed in a wheelchair on ramps, bowls and rails in a skatepark.
Joining Tait at the event was 22-year-old pioneer Aaron Fotheringham, who was the first person ever to perform both a backflip and a double backflip in a wheelchair.
“It’s new, but it’s growing very rapidly,” said Tait of WCMX. “Soon there should be more and more events happening throughout the world.”
The RISE event, which also included demos of adaptive waterskiing and wheelchair rugby, wrapped up with a small competition. Tait did not make the podium, but he was taking it a little easy after the day he had on Saturday.
“I had a bit of complications,” explained Tait. “The day before in the demo I under-rotated a back flip and bent up my chair, so my chair wasn’t riding straight.
“And I stubbed my foot really hard, enough to break one of the bones in my foot. So I wanted to take it fairly easy, not hit it hard, and just enjoy it for what it is.”
Tait competed at two WCMX events in 2012. He placed second at Canada’s first-ever WCMX event, the 9Lives No Limits Adaptive Skate Comp in Burnaby, B.C., and then snagged seventh at the Shoe City Open hosted by Life Rolls On at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
Tait became a paraplegic in a snowmobile accident during a qualification event for the X Games in October 2009. He went on to fulfill his X Games dream, competing in adaptive snocross at the Games last year in Aspen, Colo.
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