EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Tred Barta makes new friends all the time, but his latest is a mechanical wonder.
Barta, host of “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta,” was paralyzed from the chest down two years ago because of a rare “spinal stroke.” Since then, the outdoorsman has continued to shoot his TV show, and is still learning to live without the use of his legs. He shoots his longbow and homemade arrows, and tries to land the biggest fish on the lightest tackle.
His latest adventure was in British Columbia, where Barta bagged a big black bear that weighed in at about 400 pounds. He had a lot of help – dogs, pullies and chainsaws were involved – but Barta still got the bear using his bow, shooting from perhaps 15 yards away.
One of Barta’s biggest helpers this time was a new, all-terrain wheelchair, the Action Trackchair, which looks like a cross between a wheelchair and an armored personnel carrier. The chair is battery-powered, and Barta said it has given him a degree of freedom he hasn’t had since his stroke.
“My wife Anni and I can finally take a ‘walk’ up Salt Creek together,” Barta said. The motorized chair also allows Barta to get himself situated to take a shot. Because of his paralysis, Barta can only shoot effectively through an arc of just a few degrees.
On past hunts for his show, Barta has been basically stuck in one position, needing an animal to walk through that small arc.
And, since the chair has tracks, not wheels, it will work in just about any conditions.
“This chair will go to the middle of Vail for me to pick up my mono-ski,” he said.
Barta’s enthusiastic enough about his new friend that he’s trying to get a spot in Vail’s Fourth of July Parade. If he participates, you can be sure people will notice.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.