If there’s a self-appointed spokesman for the side-by-side industry, it’s Sheldon Baynham. The metal fabricator owns Sikk Rides Off-Road Parts in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and is a staunch advocate for all things UTV.
“There’s nothing better than riding a side-by-side,” Baynham said. “I really love and I’m heavily involved in it.”
For starters, Baynham was instrumental in the creation of a one-of-a-kind UTV track.
“Medicine Hat has a local UTV track here that I started eight years ago,” he said. “It’s the only one that’s still running in Western Canada. Everybody else races on motocross tracks.”
Since that time, Baynham has been trying to work with the Alberta government to create a trail system for southern Alberta. His ambitions are also driving him to advocate for making side-by-sides street legal so they can motor down secondary highways. His efforts have been unfruitful thus far, but Baynham is persistent.
In an effort to educate the public, Baynham runs a weekly podcast called SXS Dirt during which he talks about parts, products and companies with manufacturers, racers and riders of all stripes.
“It’s about letting people know that off-roaders aren’t bad for the environment and that the side-by-side industry was formed around family orientation,” said Baynham.
(L to R) Shelden Baynham’s oldest daughter, Jayden, became the first female to run the UTV XP 1000-class in the Triple Crown and snagged a first-place finish on her RZR XP 1000. — Photo courtesy Sheldon Baynham
Baynham’s family has become as smitten with side-by-sides as he is.
“I love the smell of two-stroke smoke and my kids like gasoline as much as me,” said Baynham. “We were always into quads, dirt bikes and snowmobiles, but my wife and kids didn’t want to do that anymore so we switched up to side-by-sides. My 19-year-old daughter, Jayden, races them. She was the first female to run the UTV XP 1000-class in the Triple Crown and came in first.”
The foundation for Baynham’s love of UTVs began as a kid.
“I quit school at a young age when I realized I wanted to be a fabricator and builder all my life,” said Baynham. “I used to build show cars. I worked in a body shop until 18 when I started my own car shop. I was fading out of the car industry and I wanted a different life. I bought a pipe ender and notcher and started fabbing and playing. Now I sell off-road parts all over the world.”
Baynham’s enthusiasm for side-by-sides is reflected in his vast collection, which includes a Baja Yamaha Rhino, Polaris RZR 170, Polaris Ranger XP 900 and two Polaris Ranger XP 1000s. As a fabricator, Baynham builds his own cages, bumpers and machines. He’s even built himself a “crazy golf cart Rhino” and is in the process of building a Raptor truck on a side-by-side chassis.
“I have a K9 racing body, which is a Ford Raptor body for a two-seat 1000,” he said. “There’s only a handful of these in the world and I’ve got one sitting here.”
What happens next in the side-by-side industry is up for debate. Whatever direction it goes, you can bet Baynham will be at the forefront of that discussion, championing UTVs like no other.
“There’s nothing like jumping into a side-by-side and realizing that this thing can go just about anywhere—that’s what got me hooked,” Baynham said. “They’re fun, safe, and I love the way they feel.”