A couple of weeks ago we asked our riders if they had the best photo of a Can-Am ATV or side-by-side vehicle out there doing what they do best. We had lots of great responses as usual and want to thank everyone for their participation. However, David Swain’s picture on his Can-Am Renegade 800R really told a story that we had to learn more about. We caught up with David this week to find out more about him and his Renegade, and boy, we’re sure glad we did.
David grew up in Indiana and then, after joining the Marines, moved around quite a bit between California and New York. He recently moved back to Terre Haute, Indiana, to where family is. You can find him relaxing around bonfires, cooking out and riding ATVs on a track he built in the woods.
Can-Am Off Road: What’s the story behind the picture you posted to Facebook? What are you wearing? Awesome profile picture by the way.
David: The picture was taken before competing in the Spring MudBog event in Crawfordsville (Indiana) in which I came in first place. I started wearing the Mohawk whenever I competed because the little kids love it. Then I started “doing up” my own outfits wearing the No Fear jerseys and all the little kids always cheer for me because of my outfit. I call this particular picture “Polaris’s Worst Nightmare” because when I show up, and my competitors see it and hear it, they know they don’t stand a chance.
Can- Am Off Road: When did you start riding? How did you get started?
David: I started riding when I was a kid. My first ride was on a Honda 250 Big Red three-wheeler. It was too big for me, but that never mattered. I have pretty much been riding ever since. Riding was the one thing I missed when I joined the Marines. After I got out of the service I bought my son a youth-sized ATV, but it turned out that I was always riding it. (Yes, I was way too big for it!)
After that purchase, you could say I started collecting ATVs. I bought three more ATVs and I currently own five ATVs. Once I started going to various mud-racing and -riding events in New York, I noticed the Can-Am Renegade ATVs were winning every event. It was there that I thought, “Hey, Can-Am is for me.” So, I went to the Can-Am dealership in Yorkville, New York, and told them, “I want a Renegade. NOW!” I got one and shortly thereafter started racing in the events. I’ve been winning trophies ever since. Getting a Renegade was the best decision I’ve ever made. Once I put on some mud tires and the exhaust on it, no one could compete with me.
Can-Am Off-Road: Can you tell us a little bit more about MudFest?
David: Yes, MudFest in Turin has the best setup. You race side by side in two separate lanes, side-by-side, drag-race-style double elimination. They have a drag light tree and everything. The key is getting the lanes even – it’s always a struggle to try and get the lanes fair. My dream is to one day run my own event. I have been to a lot of different events, some better than others, but all good for a ride.
Can-Am Off road: Where do you usually go riding? Have any favorite spots?
David: Whenever I get a chance I load up my ATVs and head down to Badlands Off-Road Park, which is in Attica, Indiana. It is one of the best off-road parks in all of the United States. I like going there to camp, and I usually spend the whole weekend riding. I especially love seeing people’s faces when I ride by on my Renegade with my SuperGrip tires. Otherwise, I usually ride on private property. My favorite is riding the day after the farmers remove their crops – that means it’s go time! I have also heard a lot about a trail near to me called Redbird, but I haven’t checked it out yet.
Can-Am Off-Road: What is usually the reaction you get from people when you ride by?
David: To be honest, not a lot of people have seen Can-Am products in this part of Indiana since there aren’t many places that sell them. So I stick out. People are always asking me if I like my Can-Am, and I always tell them, “Yes, it’s the best!” I never have any problems with it, and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty hard on it. Typically when people see me they always say, “Yeah I’ve been thinking about trading my (some other brand) in for one.” It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone who ever sees it likes the way it looks.
Can-Am Off Road: We hope that the private property you are riding on is your own. You’ll have to fill us in on Redbird once you check it out. What’s the riding like in Indiana? Have you ever gone to other places?
David: Well the best part for me being back in Indiana is being close to Badlands Off-road Park, which has it all. It’s over 700 acres of everything from dunes to hills and mud pits – there are different trails for different types of riders. They even have a motocross track you can ride if you’re into jumps and stuff. They are also one of the biggest sellers of Fox and Thor equipment. They also have a campground right out front, so you can camp and ride your ATV right into the park.
I also spent a lot of time riding in New York. Lewis County, New York, is an awesome place to own an ATV. They have been building a trail system where you can legally ride all the way to Canada. All you have to do is buy a season pass.
Can-Am Off-road: What’s your favorite kind of terrain to ride on?
David: It’s hard for me to ride my Renegade and not be in the mud. I’m kind of a mud junky. I could spend a day trying to figure out how to get unstuck – the problem is, it doesn’t happen very often because I am usually pulling someone else out! I just moved back to Indiana in October and have spent a lot of time on the Internet trying to find Mudbog events locally. I am kind of addicted to it now. I love nothing more than seeing the look on people’s faces when I pull up on “Gade” (that’s what I call my Renegade) decked out in my No Fear outfit and give it a good REV!
Can-Am Off Road: What’s the most challenging terrain you’ve ever ridden on? What’s the most relaxing? What’s your favorite?
David: The worst terrain I have ridden was during an event at the TrailRex, which is held close to Amsterdam, New York. That mud was so thick the “Big Truck” couldn’t even get through it. The ATVs were just sticking like flies on flypaper. Despite all the mud, it was still a good time. The more relaxing, calm rides are when I have ridden with about 100 ATVs for charity events and stuff. But by far my favorite is when you can’t tell what color my quad is (its bright yellow)!
Can-Am Off Road: Do you ride with a group of riders? Are you in touch with a rider community?
David: I have never been very involved with riding clubs since they usually want to ride on flat trails and take several breaks. It’s just not my style. I like to go out with a couple friends and see how muddy I can get – that’s my style. I do, however, thank the clubs because they put on a lot of the events I compete in.