After that comes the gearhead, the mud racer, the big personality — the rest of the stuff that helped Can-Am select John as the Ultimate Mudder in a search that spanned North America.
The Ferranti’s have a beautiful home in a nice Houston suburb. The backyard has ATVs for each family member. There’s a red, custom-built racing Can-Am for John, a green two-seater Can-Am Outlander ™ 650 for his wife Lori, a child-sized ATV for eight-year-old daughter Ryanne and a plastic ATV perfect for three-year-old son Grady.
Yes, the whole family rides. It must be something in the Ferranti blood. John’s infatuation with motorsports started young.
“It was all about motors for me when I was kid,” John says. “I’d go out in the garage and I’d start the lawnmower, the 3-wheeler and the dirt bike, just to listen to them run.”
John grew up in Southern California where his father built sand rails and then took John out to the desert to drive them. From the age of five, John loved powersports. As a child, he rode a 3-wheel ATV and progressed to dirt bikes. After moving with his family to Deer Park, Texas, he entered races as a way to tour the state.
His life was about to change in other ways as well. It was at Deer Park High School where a girl named Lori went to school. Their paths crossed shortly after he graduated, and after nine years of dating, Lori was awoken from a nap by John.
“He ran off one day, I couldn’t get ahold of him, and I got mad,” Lori says. “I didn’t realize he was over at my dad’s house asking his permission to marry me. Then he came home and woke me up from a nap. My reaction? Why’d you wake me up!?”
After she saw the custom-crafted diamond ring, her reaction changed. It’s that easy-going attitude that helped John spring another surprise on Lori.
John had always wanted to go mudding in a spot near the Jacinto River. He drove past it every day on the way to work, and seeing others playing in the mud finally set a plan in motion. He convinced Lori to let him buy a Can-Am Outlander 650, “for hunting.” But the day he bought it — surprise! — he succumbed to the call of the mud.
“He fooled me,” Lori says with a smile that suggests she’s only half-serious. “Next thing you know it needed bigger tires and a snorkel. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. Next thing I know, we’re out mudding.”
In John’s defense, he did manage to take it hunting “about a half dozen times.”
“He gets excited every time I bring them out,” John says. “Every time I start the motor, he says ‘Daddy, can I go ride with you?’ If it’s dirt, he’s probably in it. He’s probably in it right now as a matter of fact.”
Ryanne is a bit different. She enjoys watching the Disney Channel, using Facetime to chat with friends, tea parties and make-up. But she still likes riding. In fact, Ryanne recently competed in a local kids mud bog.
“The kids love it,” Lori says. “Mudding is family time. They like to get just as dirty as we do.”
Everyone also likes to watch dad race. John’s had a string of Top 3 finishes in the past few years at events like Highlifter Mud Nationals and East Coast Mud Nationals. Despite the success, he’s still a self-made man riding his self-made Can-Am ATVs.
“I’m sponsored by my 9-to-5,” John says. “I build my own motors, I tune my own clutches, I tune my own fuel injection, I do everything myself. Nobody turns a wrench on my machine except for me.”
Watch for the next part of this series as we follow John to Down South Off-road Park to see where our Ultimate Mudder rides.