Struck by a semi-trailer while helping stranded motorists, Bob Scott doesn’t regret being on that highway during a treacherous blizzard last month.
"I’d do it again tomorrow," he said, without hesitation.
"There could have been a lot more people hurt. There was a lot of little kids out there, there was a newborn baby in one of the vehicles," Scott said, explaining children, in vehicles without heat, were complaining of the cold, after dozens of vehicles were stuck overnight on the Trans-Canada Highway, west of Brandon, due to a collision.
"When you see stuff like that, it makes you think that my bones will heal, but that little one could have froze to death."
A couple weeks after the snowmobiler was shoved off the road, Scott, a 36-year-old from Alexander, rides a scooter that’s become his mode of transportation.
Temporarily unable to walk, his left arm and foot in casts are reminders of his near-death experience.
A former bull rider, Scott was upbeat when met Friday at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon. He pumps his fist after his wife Jane earned second place in the hackney harness non-pro championship.
He would have led the pony himself, if he wasn’t bound to four wheels.
A day after Scott was hospitalized, on March 8, he told his medical team he would indeed return to the Winter Fair, where he and his wife, who run S BAR H Farms, have showed hackney ponies since 2011.
That weekend, with his family surrounding his hospital bed, he asked whether they wanted to show ponies at all.
"They said, ‘For you, we would,’" Scott recalled. "So the whole family’s been here all week.
"It’s awesome," he adds. "It shows you how much my family cares; they love the horses and ponies just as much as I do."
Many were surprised around the barns to even see him there.
"It’s better to be sitting here than on the couch," said Scott, who works in the parts department for AgWest.
The morning of Tuesday, March 8, Scott decided to help when he learned his co-worker was among the stranded travellers, one of the estimated 78 grounded vehicles.
Along the way, other stuck travellers stopped Scott, telling him their vehicles ran out of gas and their children were cold.
On his snowmobile, Scott headed into Alexander, where local firefighters were marshalling rescue efforts.
Around noon, pretty much every vehicle was topped up with gas.
Scott was making a final round, leaving the ditch after checking on a car, when he attempted to cross an eastbound lane. The road was so icy, Scott was twisted in the opposite direction.
"Just as I spun around and looked to my left, I’d seen the grill hit me."
He remembers the whole thing — the thud and the pain.
Nearly 40,000 people on YouTube have watched a video of the incident.
He remembers the angry semi driver, travelling on a closed portion of highway, who hit him.
"It was a lot of not nice words being said to me and he didn’t offer to help or nothing, he just screamed and yelled."
A witness, Jordan Jones, estimated the semi’s speed was at least 80 km/h, in an interview with The Brandon Sun last month.
Scott is frustrated by the driver, who has been charged with careless driving, but appreciative that he’s alive and was able to help others, hours before emergency personnel would have reached some vehicles.
"I’m lucky, there’s no other way around it," he said.
He thinks about the moment he was hit constantly.
"I have no concussion, no whiplash. My helmet probably saved my life."
In a few months, Scott expects to be back to normal, walking again. No promises are made when it comes to nerve damage, but Scott is confident he’ll fully recover.
His wife Jane, who participates in show jumping, pulled out of this year’s event so she could focus on showing ponies alongside her husband. It has become a tradition of theirs.
Family, friends and neighbours have been a big support in the weeks since Bob’s injury.
"Everybody has offered to help. They offered to do chores at the farm, bring food. It’s been nice."
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from Ian Hitchen
» Twitter: @ianfroese