This is one of my favorite people on earth and one of the most inspirational stories out there. Clay is my brother-in-laws brother, so a brother to me. We laughed when I asked him if he could tell me how he STANDS UP & LIVES (my motto) you’ll get that as you read his story… enjoy!
THE CLAY EGAN STORY
Over the years I have struggled to know what my purpose is. I was raised in a regular Mormon home. My father was a returned missionary, a Korean War Veteran, a college graduate, and a Branch President. My mother was a loving, caring wife and homemaker. My older siblings were returned missionaries, college graduates, and all active members of our LDS faith.
Then there was me. I was 9 years younger than my closest sister and was pretty much an only child at home from the age of six on. About the time I turned fourteen, my father was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. He spent most of his time in bed. He was suicidal, often heard voices, and cut himself.
Since I was the only child at home and my mother was working full time to try and take care of us, I spent a lot of time alone. On the outside, no one knew what was going on at home and on the inside, I was struggling with my own emotional issues. So to deal with things, I started using drugs.
At the age of 21 and on a dark winter night I had gotten busted for drugs and pretty much hit the bottom. I, too, like my father became severely depressed, and then one day shortly after, I almost ended up taking my own life. So with the help of my bishop, my older brothers, and my mother, I was able to get checked into a rehab center and get the help that I needed.
After getting out of rehab I went back to church and I began to turn my life around. For the first time in my life, I started to search and ponder my purpose. I knew I needed to stay sober and make better choices. I knew the only way to do that was through my faith in God.
On June 1, 1994, around 11:30 P.M. just over a year after I had turned my life around, I was on a mountain road in eastern Utah when my motorcycle collided with two stray horses. I was flown via life flight to the University of Utah Medical Center where I was classified as a quadriplegic. I had broken my C5, C6, and C7 vertebrates, cracked my head, suffered a fracture to my right cheekbone, was paralyzed from the chest down, and had limited use of my arms and hands. The doctors told my family that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and that they would have to take care of me for the rest of my life. They told my family, don’t ever expect much out of Clay.
Around the second week of my time in the hospital, my older brother Kip was up visiting me. It was an especially bad day. At the time I was still being fed through a tube through my nose. They had me packed in ice because my body temperature and fever were too high and I was just emotionally struggling that day. Kip could see that I was struggling. In only a way that an older brother could relay a message to his suffering little brother, he leaned over to me, with tears streaming down my face and basically said to me, “You need to cowboy up!” He said, “You can either let this beat you or you can beat it, but it is your choice.” As hard as it was for me to accept those words that afternoon, I got it. It was my choice.
We all have obstacles to face and challenges to overcome throughout our lives. But we all have the choice to either stay in that crappy place and let that challenge beat us down or we can rise above and overcome that obstacle. From that day forward, I never looked back and have been pushing the limits and kicking butt ever since.
At the end of 2008, I had already been blessed with a very successful rockcrawling and off-road racing career. By then I had written my first book and was the only quadriplegic in the world to compete professionally in the extreme sport of rockcrawling and rock racing. At the time I was at the peak of my off-road and rockcrawling career. I had just finished 3rd at the Pro Rock National Finals in Cougar Buttes, California. I had just filmed an episode of Nitro Circus with Travis Pastrana for MTV and I had a new race truck being built. I was preparing to race my first ever King of The Hammers off-road race in Johnson Valley, California and had my own TV Show called Jack’d Up in the works. But at the time I wasn’t happy with my career anymore. I was struggling internally again, with what my purpose really was. I had been blessed with so many amazing things but still felt like I didn’t know what God wanted of me.
I know our Heavenly Father knows things about us even when we don’t. During that time I had been feeling like God wanted me to stop racing and focus more on being a speaker and sharing my story to help others. But that wasn’t really what I wanted at the time. I wanted to continue to race.
So during my preparation for this up-and-coming King of The Hammers race, it had been a couple of really bad months getting ready. Normally when you have a new truck built, you spend weeks, even months, tuning and dialing it in for your first race. It took us until the night before the race before my truck was finished. I had not even driven this truck until the night before. Not a way you want to go into the biggest race of your career.
It was Friday morning race day and I was up against 92 of the toughest able-body drivers in the world. This is a race that would take me upwards of twelve hours to complete if I could complete it. I had to travel 86 merciless miles of the gnarliest terrain. At 8:04 A.M. the green flag dropped and I was off the starting line. The truck was loose and everything felt awkward. I was struggling to keep it going in a straight line. I was all over the place.
After being behind the wheel for about 4 hours on pure adrenaline, we were in 8th place out of those 92 teams and we had traveled 60 of the 86 miles. As we were coming upon a steep sandy embankment I made a tired, mental error and flipped my truck. Tyler, my co-driver then unstrapped himself and climbed out through the windshield of the truck to assess the damage. I was completely beside myself. I was so mad. After Tyler tried for about 15 minutes to flip us back over, I was starting to black out. So I started to pray. I prayed that we could get my truck fixed and at least finish the race. We had come too far and my team had worked too hard to get us this far to give up now.
That day upside down in my truck I made a deal with my Heavenly Father. I said, “If you help me finish this race, I will quit racing and I will focus more on my speaking career.” I said, “I feel and have felt for a long time, that is what you want me to be doing.” I’ll be honest, that was the first time I’d ever made a deal with God before. It was very hard because I knew I’d have to keep my end of the deal which really wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to keep racing. But I wanted to finish this race even more.
To make a long story short, after two hours of Tyler working on my truck, he had us back on the trail and racing to the finish. Tyler and my team have never let me down, but more importantly, my Heavenly Father has never let me down.
At exactly 9 hours and 56 minutes after starting the race I crossed the finish line. It was the most physically grueling and the most emotional race and finish of my career. I finished what 57 other able-bodied drivers couldn’t do. In a race like King of The Hammers, if you canâ€™t win the race, you at least want to be able to finish it because that is a victory in itself.
So many times throughout that race I wanted to quit. 8 hours into it, I physically had no more to give. It was all I could do to not pull over and quit. I pushed myself beyond anything that I had ever done before. There is no way I should have finished that race. I finished purely on faith alone and maybe a little out of being stubborn too.
After coming home from King of The Hammers I honored that deal I made with God that afternoon on that desert floor. I put my career on hold as a professional rockcrawler and off-road racer, sold that new race truck, and started focusing on my speaking career. It was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do.
For the last 6 years, I have been traveling and sharing my story about faith, overcoming adversity, and finding our purpose in life. It has been the most rewarding years of my life. I can honestly say that I have found my purpose. I know what the Lord’s plan is for me. I know that I am to help others through my story and testimony of faith. I have been blessed far beyond my expectations through serving and sharing my message.
I know that God allowed me to have my accident and then allowed me to have a successful rockcrawling and off-road career so that I could be a voice and an inspiration to help others through my story. I know that God has a plan and a purpose for all of us and I also know that if we seek that purpose out and if we honor it, we can receive some of the greatest blessings in life.
The Worlds Most Inspirational *ROCKSTAR*
“PUSH THE LIMITS”
Professional Rockcrawler, Wheelchair Athlete, Published Author, Motivator and Speaker
So you can see that Clay can’t Stand Up to live physically, but he is doing it in every other way!