Sunshine streamed through the living room window lighting up Ezra Auton’s face as he spoke about quadding and why a serious accident earlier this year can’t stop him from pursuing a sport he loves so dearly.
Now a Grade 9 student of William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus, Auton recalls the first time he was introduced to theworld of quads.
“I had a friend in Grade 5 here in Donalda and we used to spend a lot of time together, he owned snow mobiles and thatwas one of the first times I actually drove a vehicle myself,” said Auton. “I was pretty sure I wanted a snow mobile then, butmy dad convinced me otherwise, so I went for a quad.”
Auton started earning some money with his brother Judah, by mowing lawns in summer and shovelling snow during thewinter months.
Spending time online to get a quad within his budget was an uphill climb till he found one in Edmonton.
“I had made enough to purchase an entry-level quad, so I bought a 2010 GIO, which wasn’t exactly amazing, but it’s what Icould afford at that time and it was a good quad in terms of learning how to fix it and drive it,” continued Auton. “I spent alot of time fixing it and learned a lot about the mechanics of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) after I got it running pretty good, soI sold it and my next quad was a Raptor 350.”
Although it was his second quad, Auton felt it was too heavy for him.
He was more interested in racing quads.
“So I purchased something that was better suited to my weight and own a Raptor 250 now,” said Auton. “I like the speed,and I like working on machines and it’s all a part of it, I drive it for a while and then have to tweak it to get it to run properlyagain.”
What drives Auton to quadding is the ability to do tricks, such as cat walking, jumping or drifting.
“I have done quite a bit of fixing to the quad I currently own and I’m also giving it a few upgrades, such as nerf bars andspeedometer,” said Auton. “At one point I found that the frame was cracked so I had to get it welded.”
With his dad’s help, Auton was able to take it all apart right down to the frame.
“My dad’s firefighter friend is a welder, so he fixed it for me and I helped him with some work on his house for a trade,”said Auton.
When the quad accident happened during the May long weekend earlier this year, Auton and his family was at a friend’splace.
“We were trying some new side by sides they had got and I got sliding around a turn when it flipped over on its side, andmy arm was pinned between the roll cage and the road,” described Auton. “The orthopaedic surgeon told me it was as if Ihad put my arm in a meat grinder!”
After skin graft and four surgeries, besides weeks of healing, Auton was back on his feet in September, ready for the newacademic year.
Auton had to wear a wound vac for two weeks, which cleaned the wound and helped tissue to grow there.
On days when they changed the dressing, morphine was administered to him because of the excruciating pain he felt.
“I have pretty good use of my arm now, but I won’t ever have full range again although its pretty close,” said Auton. “I haveone, maybe two surgeries coming up in the new year, which means another cast and more work afterwards on mobility butthe scar will be much smaller … I don’t really like how it looks like right now, but I’m sure glad that I still have my arm!”
Auton’s mum Cindy has mixed feelings about his getting back on the quad.
“I think I’ll always have mixed feelings about him riding, but it’s pretty cool that he got back on and didn’t let the accidentchange his dreams and what he is passionate about, but I’m always going to be nervous about the speed,” said Cindy. “I didhave a few months in the middle when he was getting back to real life when I didn’t recognize him, but Ezra has alwaysbeen a go getter and not really afraid of anything, though he is very cautious now, which is good but surprises me.”
Auton wants to own a Yamaha dealership someday, or be out in the fields being a farmer, a theme that connects him to hispassion, working with his hands.
“It took me a while to ride again, I was nervous but I’m good now, I’m back to riding and doing all the stuff I did before, butI have to figure out what my arm can and can’t do from time to time,” reflected Auton. “I didn’t think I was going to be ableto play volleyball this year because when I over-hand served my arm wouldn’t do what I needed it to do, but gradually I’veworked at it and had a pretty good year actually.”