A Penticton biker needs the community's help to win a contest and raffle off the prize for charity

Dream Chopper for charity

Casey Richardson

A Penticton motorcycle enthusiast is putting his name forward to win a spot on Orange County Choppers and if he wins, he is pledging to donate the money from the completed bike when it's raffled off back to the community. 

Darrell Richards has been riding and fixing bikes for years, and when he got an email about a chance to enter to be into a contest to build a dream bike, he didn’t think it was real. 

“Originally I got a notice in my email and it was for a contest and I thought it was one of those things you enter and they want to send you something but I entered anyway....all of sudden voting started and I was getting updated that I was doing okay on it which is when I started sharing it one Facebook to get some awareness on it,” Richards said. 

The contest, Dream Choppers, will be on American motorcycle-building reality TV series Orange County Choppers, with an episode to design and build the custom motorbike of the winner’s dreams.

As Richards watched votes pile in the first round of voting for the contest, he started wondering what he could do with the bike if he won. 

“It's all great and fine and dandy that I would win it and the opportunity to go build it. The issue for me was I don’t really need another bike and there is a way to use it for something in the community.”

After reaching out to friends for suggestions of a cause that would be good to donate too and work with, overwhelmingly the group chose Discovery House. 

Discovery House is operated by the Penticton Resource Recovery Society (PRRS) and focuses on helping men to find their path to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The program offers two supportive living recovery homes located in Penticton, hoping to provide a safe, secure and supportive, holistic environment for those in recovery.

“I think it’s an amazing gift and it’s a really kind of good news story that the community can get behind in a really challenging year for not just the regular community but especially people recovering from addiction,” Jerome Abraham, the executive director of Discovery House said of Richards' pledge. 

“I’ve ridden with guys that have actually been to Discovery House and they say it saved their life,” Richards said. 

The money from the raffle could generate over $100,000, which in funding for Discovery House would help them expand their recovery services by purchasing another supportive living home in Penticton.

“We’re currently over the next year looking to purchase another property for a continuing care program...They're looking for more individual support, life skills training, maybe going back to work, back to school,” Abraham said. “Having that would keep guys connected.” 

“It’s important to get involved in the community as a part of the solution instead of part of a problem, it’s easy to drive around Penticton and see people with addiction and judge them, I think it’s part of the problem,” Richards added.  

“We have to take action.” 

Richards also feels that there still might be a stigma surrounding bikers, with people thinking they are thugs or run with a tough crowd. 

“Show them that guys that ride bikes are human too and we do a lot of charitable work and try to get involved in the community as much as possible in a positive way.”

To help out Richards, vote for him daily on the website and follow him on Facebook for updates on his progress.

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