Rae Croteau Jr. knows what goes into a good ride. A championship chuckwagon driver for more than 15 years, now retired, Rae has a learned talent for mastering tough terrain and a national record for getting results. That’s why he’s enjoying maximum satisfaction from his new Defender Limited—for work, play, or simply helping out neighbors and family.
Rae’s adventures in his new Defender first came to our attention thanks to the incredible photos he posts regularly on his Instagram page, @raecroteaujr. Let’s find out what this championship wagon driver enjoys about his ride.
Rae was born in a farming family in Bonnyville, Alberta, but now hangs his hat in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, a Canadian prairie city that literally straddles the Saskatchewan-Alberta border. This is oil country, and Rae has spent a good part of his adult life working in the Canadian oil patch. It’s a good living, but he and his family, which includes three daughters, the youngest just under a year, are transitioning to being full-time farmers. They plan to resettle in Bonnyville within the year.
Helping Rae at work is his recently purchased Can-Am Defender Limited HD10, featuring a Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo exterior. “Safety is a big thing. I’m still working in the oil fields, and the Defender has all those features that protect the driver—good clearance and good view—and it’s very dependable. That’s important because you can get out in some very remote areas.”
The Defender will also play a big part in setting up the new family farm in Bonnyville. “We’ll get some cattle on the farm and things like that, so the Defender will be busy,” Rae promised. “Between the oil field and farming and hunting and all the other projects, we always seem to be in it.”
His two oldest girls, both in their teens, make as much use of the Defender as their dad allows. Lately, it stands in as a driver’s ed vehicle. “It’s a good way for them to learn how to drive and progress to a vehicle,” explained Rae. “You’re out in an open area, so there’s nothing really for them to run into.”
The girls also get hands-on lessons on the Defender’s renowned adaptability, which includes helping install its snowplowing blade. As Rae explained, “It’s part of growing up and becoming an adult: learning how things work and learning how to take care of stuff that you own. I think that’s important.”
The Defender Limited’s standard HVAC climate system helps keep the cabin cool in the summer and warm in the winter. That makes all-day adventures, including ice fishing and hunting deep in the Saskatchewan bush, just that much more comfortable. “We love being outside in the snow, and it’s a pretty nice luxury to have the heat,” noted Rae. “Maybe you’re at a toboggan hill and the kids ride their toboggans down the hill. You meet them there, the kids put the toboggans in the back, and I drive them back to the top.”
To ensure superior traction for his backwoods adventures, Rae purchased his Defender with the 4-season Apache 360 LT track system installed. The tracks have allowed him to easily ride over mud, snow and soft terrain. It really is one of his favorite accessories on his vehicle.
Rae is also a fan of the Defender’s multifunction cargo box. “You can have your cooler with food or a little barbecue in the back. It’s kind of unlimited, the things you can do.” It’s also perfect for hauling chopped fired wood, as his Instagram posts demonstrate.
The opportunity to do a good deed with his new ride is always there. “We have a couple aunts who live close by. If it snows, we’ll clean their driveway for them,” Rae explained. “It makes life easier for everybody.”
The Defender Limited is Rae’s first Can-Am vehicle, and for him, there’s no looking back. A former Polaris owner, he doesn’t miss having to drop a few hundred bucks every year on repairs and parts. “I decided to try something new and I’m super happy,” he affirmed.
Rae enjoys the better sight lines in his Can-Am rig, the comparatively roomier cabin space, and its class-leading engine performance. “Just the power and everything. It’s a high-performance machine, right? It’s the HD10, it’s the bigger motor,” he said.
Can-Am Off-Road first came to Rae’s attention on social media, where he’d see ads for the Defender and the many other standouts in the Can-Am lineup. “I kept my eye out, did my research, thought about it for seven or eight months and decided to go buy one,” he said.
And now the ex-chuckwagon driver is very happy with his favorite off-road vehicle. “I encourage anybody I talk with to look at a Can-Am. It has been a great experience so far.”
On worksites, hunting trips, in agribusiness, and anywhere you need: the Defender gets the job done right. And he's the pillar of many incredible stories.
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