Wheelchair doesn’t hinder Gardnerville stuntman | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wheelchair doesn’t hinder Gardnerville stuntman

Maggie O'Neill
Chad Lundquist / Nevada Appeal / Trevor Snowden, 36, of Gardnerville churns up some dirt on his custom built gas powered extreme wheelchair near Lampe Park on Tuesday evening. Snowden recently made an appearance on an ABC's TV show called "Master of Champions."

GARDNERVILLE – Trevor Snowden, 36, had knots in his stomach as he revved-up the motor of his RC 4-wheel “bike” and prepared to race up a 5-foot ramp for the June taping of ABC’s “Master of Champions.”

“I think I had stomach ulcers,” he said. “Since that first day we got in Hollywood, I was freaking out.”

The ramp would launch his vehicle 7 feet high and send Snowden over 3 feet of space. He’d land on a flaming rail and travel 12 feet down it on the slide plate – a piece of metal at the bottom of his vehicle – all before a live audience. Under his show clothes, he wore fire-resistant protection.

“There was no practice whatsoever, and he stepped up to do it,” said Trevor Brown, a friend of Snowden’s for 20 years who traveled with Snowden to Hollywood. “He’s definitely not one to sit back and let the system or others him tell him what he can and cannot do.”

But doing stunts isn’t new for Snowden, who has been in a wheelchair since 1997, when he broke his back in a snowboarding accident.

“I’m kind of like Evil Knievel in a wheelchair,” he said.

The RC 4-Wheel gasoline powered “bike” was something Snowden designed himself, just like the scooter he built to tote himself and seven bags of groceries around.

“I’m also an inventor/engineer, but not a degree-engineer, just a hands-on type of engineer,” said Snowden, who is working on his own Web site at http://www.trevair.com

The Internet is how producers found him for the show – a Google of “extreme wheelchair” brought him up. The show, which started airing in late June, features six competitors battling it out via the most impressive stunt to be named the Master of Champions. No cash prize, Snowden said, just the top finisher’s name inscribed on the Master of Champion’s wall.

“The show was like the Guinness Book of World Records meets ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ meets the X-Games,” Snowden said.

He even broke his own records – a 10-foot slide and 1-foot gap – during the taping of the show. His toughest competitors were the guys who jumped over a convertible car, slam-dunked a ball, and then drove away,

“He’s definitely a pioneer and visionary,” Brown said. “The biggest thing about him is he’s not intimidated. He’ll just show up and go for it.”

Not surprising for a guy who once competed in snowboarding events at Lake Tahoe.

Producers for the show, which airs every Thursday at 8 p.m., said Snowden’s episode won’t air. They wouldn’t comment why.

However, Snowden who placed second, heads out to Los-Angeles soon to audition for producers of the X-Games.

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