There’s just something about stabbing the throttle and your vehicle jumping to life. It’s an adrenaline rush when you mash the gas pedal or throttle and your side-by-side or ATV goes.
Most of us don’t give it a second thought when we press down on the gas … with our foot.
Dave Bower thinks about it. Probably just about every single time he carefully climbs into his new Can-Am Maverick Trail side-by-side. Or previous to his Maverick Trail, he thought about it every time he eased on to one of his myriad of ATVs.
That’s because Bower is a bilateral amputee. His right leg was amputated below the hip and the left leg above the knee. When he was just 19 years old (he is now 69, going on 70), Bower slipped in snowy conditions under the wheels of a rail car in Idaho in 1969. When he first slipped, the rail car’s wheels “took my right leg off immediately,” he explained. “It pulled me down the track a little ways and then my left leg caught on something, maybe part of the track, and took my left leg off. I lay there about a half hour before someone came to help me.”
He then spent weeks in a local hospital and then nine months in a Boston rehab facility where he was fitted with prosthetic legs. “It was a whole new ballgame using the prosthesis,” he said. “My left leg is my workhorse and the right one is my trailer.”
After learning to use his new legs, he said, “I came back home [to Idaho]. That’s when the trials began.”
He struggled to find work, going from job to job for a few years. He married in 1973 and eventually decided to go on Social Security disability when he couldn’t get long term work. He and his wife Lynette moved to Georgetown, ID, in 1975 and have lived there ever since.