Ranger Boats are Easy on the Body – Just Ask Darrell Peters

We all know Ranger Boats are a more comfortable ride, but Darrell Peters really needed it to keep on fishing. 

When Peters was a six-year-old boy riding bikes in small town Clara City, Minnesota, a drunk driver ran him over. It changed his life forever. Though a paraplegic from the injuries, it never slowed him down. Darrell used a wheelchair and grew up hunting and fishing. After school, he worked as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. His wife’s job moved the family to Iowa. “I’m a trophy husband,” piped Darrell. “What can I say.”

Then a second accident hit. “I rolled an ATV while hunting and broke four vertebrae in my neck,” said Darrell. “That set me back a bit more. The doctors told me I had a 90% chance of losing the movement in both arms. But fortunately one surgery worked out and I can still move my right arm.”

Darrell fished the walleye circuits, but the pain from the second accident made it so hard. He could only prefish for three or four hours maximum. He’d have to head in early. Then a friend suggested he try his Ranger Boat with three to four feet waves on Lake Oahe. “I couldn’t believe how smooth it was. It made all the difference in the world how it cut through the waves so nice.”

This was Darrell’s first year fishing out of a Ranger Boat and Ranger is proud to include Darrell in their pro staff.

“I’ve loved fishing since I was a kid growing up. My parents had a cabin on a resort in Alexandria. As soon as we arrived, I usually headed straight to the boat. I'd spend all weekend on the boat fishing for anything that would bite,” said Darrell. “I didn't catch many walleyes as a kid, as they were too hard to catch, but I caught bass, panfish, and northern. I'd wear my dad out.”

His dad finally told him, “You need to get your own boater’s permit, so I can go in for a nap.” With a tiller and a 25 horsepower motor, Darrell found freedom from sunrise to sunset.

Growing up, if Darrell ever got in trouble the parents would quickly threaten to ground the boat. Darrell took it seriously. To this day, he enjoys a lot of pheasant, duck and goose hunting as well as serious walleye fishing. “Maybe I'm too stubborn to give up, I just do it.”

Darrell’s passion for walleyes came from watching locals on the lake. “Early on, I couldn’t figure them out. I was challenged to learn how to catch them.” He admits he is an extremely competitive person.

“It drives my wife crazy, but I’m competitive about everything I’ve done—wheelchair basketball, for example. We made it to the NCAA final four.” When Darrell was 19, he made it to the Junior Olympics and took silver in the Championship round. “Throwing darts, too; I won the Minnesota state title in Level One and people couldn’t believe it. I love winning trophies.”

The fishing became serious after the wheelchair basketball ended.

Darrell doesn’t remember life before a wheelchair. “This is all I know.”

It sure doesn’t slow him down.

Building great boats that provide a safe, dry and comfortable ride is what Ranger Boats is all about. We’re proud of the hard work Darrell Peters extends when he’s fishing. “The benefit of not being beat up is worth every penny of that boat,” said Darrell. And he has it rigged up pretty nice with a hands-free bowmount trolling motor.  “I hit a button and run the trolling motor up; run to a spot; hit a button and drop the motor. Everyone is amazed.”

Darrell Peters, age 40, and his wife, Heather, live in Hinton, Iowa with their twin daughters, Kyra and Kadence, age nine.  He runs a Ranger FS 621 with a Mercury 300 Verado and Minn Kota-Humminbird electronics and bowmount.

“I can stow and deploy the trolling motor, can run the kicker and the big motor—all with remote control,” said Darrell. “Even though I’m at a bit of a disadvantage, the hardest part is finding the fish and that’s hard for everyone. To me, it is more of a mental challenge than physical. Making the right decisions is what’s important, about using your brains to figure it out. I feel like I can be right there with them.”

Since the second injury, Darrell has stayed with team format with Cabela’s MWC and Cabela’s National Team Championship because his partner is someone he can depend on to help throughout the day. “I think I’m getting strong enough to think about competing at the pro side of a pro-co format in the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour circuit,” said Darrell.

Good luck, Darrell. We’ll be watching for you.  -- by K.J. Houtman tinyurl/houtman

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