ATV initiation: Baptism by mud

Saskatchewan has plenty of mucky places to go for a rip


Chris Black gives a thumbs-up as he plows his way out of a large mudpuddle.

Chris Black tests out various mudholes throughout Saskatchewan. — Photo courtesy Chris Black

Sometimes, the best way to find out if you’re interested in a new sport is to immerse yourself in it. In the case of ATVing, baptism by mud is a useful trial to test new recruits. If they squeal in horror, it’s probably not for them. If they giggle with glee, you might have found yourself a new convert. For Chris Black (Blackie to his friends), sinking into soupy soil is the perfect recipe to create a lasting bond with the sport.

“I decided to try a Big Bear 350,” he said. “When I got it muddy for the first time, I was hooked. I sold the Big Bear and got my first Can-Am, a 2009 Can-Am Renegade 800, and called it Swamp Dawg. Things have never been the same since.”

Blackie and Swamp Dawg enjoy puddle jumping all over Saskatchewan.

“The best place to ride is near Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan,” he said. “It has endless trails full of skeg. 

“The most popular trails would probably be in Candle Lake, Saskatchewan. They have a little bit of everything from dry family trails to skeg to clay-type mud.”

Chris Black gives a thumbs-up while covered in mud next to his 2012 Can Am Renegade XXC 1000.

Chris Black’s favourite places to play are in Hudson Bay and Candle Lake, Saskatchewan. — Photo courtesy Chris Black

Black lives in Birch Hills and works as a small motors mechanic at Prairie Recreation in Prince Albert. He has joined forces with David Ostapiw, a.k.a. Ostacruiser, which inspired him to start up ExtremeAtvOffroad on Instagram. The page profiles Black’s awesome adventures and muddy misadventures.

“I have been ejected from my quad a few times—with only minor injuries so far, thankfully,” he said. “My last crash was just this May long weekend. I got ejected from my quad. The throttle got stuck and broke. I watched my quad crash through trees until it was three feet from a huge tree and it magically shut down. I had an angel watching over me that day. I later found out that a stick came up and broke the key, shutting it down. How lucky is that? Wooo!”

Beyond managing a social media page that documents his outings, Black is a social rider. If he has a buddy to visit with between dives into swampy mud holes, he’s in his happy place.

“What I love most is spending time with the friends I have made and my riding crew,” Black said. “The adrenalin rush I get from the sport—hitting mud holes wide open on nitrous—is something I crave daily.”

Modified to the max:

Black currently rides a 2012 Can Am Renegade XXC 1000—at least that’s what it started out as. It’s currently a 1,133-CC with mods that include:

  • Ported Maverick heads
  • Custom bull moose intake
  • Head studs
  • 54-mm throttle body
  • STM 3P from Pit Proven Performance
  • STM secondary and a Maverick belt
  • XMR geared trans built by Mud N Wheels
  • XMR rear differential built by Mud N Wheels
  • Rear two-inch stretched trailing arms from Mud N Wheels
  • Demon XHD rear axles
  • Super ATV forward A arms
  • Super ATV Assassinator tires
  • S3 bumper
  • Warn winch
  • Full-throttle Powersports running boards
  • RJWC neutrino lights
  • NPP exhaust
  • Power Commander 5
  • Boss Nos nitrous system
  • Powder coating by Thrill Billy Powder Coating
  • Full custom ExtremeAtvOffroad wrap
  • MrRPM oil cooler
  • Custom ExtremeAtvOffroad seat cover
  • Custom ExtremeAtvOffroad shifter
  • Custom ExtremeAtvOffroad gas cap 

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