Diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at age four, a 10-year-career in dirt track racing didn't seem like it was in the cards for Lampman native Riley Raynard.
But for the last decade, Raynard has been a mainstay at the Estevan Motor Speedway, even competing south of the border along the way.
"I guess I am kind of surprised how long I was able to race," said the 25-year-old Raynard, who's been in a wheelchair since his teenage years. "Lots of kids that have this disease, they don't even get their license let alone can race a race car for 10 years. So I'm pretty thankful."
"It's just awesome that I was able to do something that I loved for so long. And I just feel so fortunate because I know there are so many boys that are worse off with my disease, and so I know I got really lucky in that sense."
Earlier this month, Estevan Motor Speedway President Brad Pierson said the annual Dirt Wars weekend at the speedway will be renamed in Raynard's honour. Raynard won the first ever Dirt Wars event.
"He's always done amazing things in that class with a disability attached," Pierson said. "We made it official that the Dirt Wars weekend will forever be known as Riley Raynard Dirt Wars."
"He's just been such a leader for so many people in so many ways. In racing he's been a star at the Estevan Motor Speedway for a lot of years. And then internationally, a lot of recognition from down in the States from what he's pulled off. We want to keep him involved in the Motor Speedway and we thought it would just be a nice piece to name that event after him. He's very deserving and he couldn't be happier," Pierson added.
Amid that announcement, Raynard told DiscoverEstevan Thursday that he would be stepping away from the sport.
"It's just awesome that they would do something like that, I'm honestly just speechless about the whole thing," he said. "It's just nice that they're honouring me by naming it after me. Just because I'm stepping away from racing doesn't mean I won't be hanging around the track and stuff."
"We kind of just realized it's just getting a bit too hard for me. The current set up that we had, it just wasn't quite working how we wanted it to. But it was good while it lasted anyways, and I'm honestly so thankful that I could race for 10 years, let alone even drive a car."
He said he had to make several adjustments along the way to combat the DMD.
"I would sometimes put my right hand on my right leg just to push down on the gas to get it going harder," said Raynard, who comes from a racing family. "There's lots of juggling and stuff around the car...lots of times I would have one hand on the steering wheel. Then we were trying to figure out something where I could have more control with two hands. It worked out pretty good."
Even though he won't be racing, Raynard said you'll still see him around the track this summer, and is even considering doing some announcing. He said the sport is in his blood.
"I try to be as best of an ambassador for the sport as I can be. Just helping everybody here and there, and just helping the sport grow. Just because I love the sport so much and it's so close to my heart," he said. "Once it gets into your veins, it's honestly hard to get out of your blood."
"It's just an awesome sport."