Clifton Slay launched his love of dirt machines at age 15 building multiple VW Baja Bugs and Jeeps. After high school did a stint on a US Army Special Forces team as a commo/weapons specialist and Thai linguist, specializing in the Southeast Asia region. 

Post military Clifton went back to his off-road roots trail guiding in Colorado and Utah for Camp Jeep and The Red Rock 4 Wheelers. Additionally, crafting special projects at 4Wheel Parts Denver while writing for 4X4 Power and JP magazine. He then graduated to co-captaining Avalanche Engineering known for the development of some of the first production rock crawling chassis buggies, quarter elliptic and coilover suspensions, high steering, chromoly portal axle housings with rear steer, body armor, beadlock wheels and many other firsts in the off-road world. in 2003 Clifton created Poison Spyder Customs bringing a heritage of innovation and style that is still part of the modern DNA of the off-road machines built today. Furthermore, Clifton Slay was presented with the Mother’s Award at SEMA for top automotive engineering. He was a staple in magazines, TV, media and was the first face of Nitto Tire when they arrived in the United States. Further casting him as a major influencer in the 90’s and 2000’s. He has competed in Baja 1000, World Rock Crawling Championship, Top Truck Challenge, King of the Hammers and other dirt sports. Clifton Slay is also known for being a member of the small fraternity that runs Motor Trend’s Ultimate Adventure, an iconic event that has spanned more than 20 years.  

In 2010 he joined a Search & Rescue Team in Colorado. The SAR team focuses on mountain and urban rescue, utilizing high angle rope, UTV, K9 and drone assets. Clifton expanded his scope on the search & rescue team to include his K9 partner Valkyrie. A driven Dutch Shepherd with a discipline as an area scent discriminating search dog. They are now a dual discipline team as search dog and paramedic. Besides the mountains, Clifton has years of experience as a street and fire EMS provider further rounding his medical acuuman. Clifton has been a committed EMS instructor in the Denver area since 2011specializing in EMR, EMT and Paramedic Academies, cadaver lab, IV and tactical courses. He is also the paramedic for Motor Trend’s Overland Adventure. 

Slay continues his search & rescue work and is the owner of Hoplite Venturetrek specializing in off-road and emergency services education. He can be found at the Overland Expo’s driver training area and education as part of the OE’s cadre.  

Photo by Brett Willhelm


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