Over $2,600 was raised at the third annual Rex Gill Memorial Ride and fundraiser event in Kelowna on Saturday (Sept. 25), with all proceeds going towards the Central Okanagan Food Bank, the Kelowna Gospel Mission and Penticton’s Ooknakane Friendship Centre.
The ride began in Penticton, with bikers leaving for Kelowna at around 9:45 a.m. The fundraising event was hosted outside of Konquer Motorcycles, where friends and family spent the afternoon under the sun eating barbeque, bidding on silent auction items and throwing their names in the hat for door prizes and raffle draws.
The initiative began in December of 2018 when Gill made the ride and gathered blankets and coats for the homeless in Kelowna. On Jan. 23, 2019, he was killed at the Kamloops Comfort Inn and Suites, which police believe to be a case of mistaken identity in what appeared to be a targeted drug-trade shooting. His murder remains unsolved.
There were well over 100 people in attendance on Saturday, and Gill’s mother, Marie Nobles, said that the support is a testament to the number of lives Gill and Mike Courtney touched. Courtney died after returning home from Kelowna following last year’s memorial ride, when his bike’s kickstand came out and caused him to crash.
“It tells me that Rex and Mike were well-loved,” said Nobles. “I made R.I.P. Rex earrings, just so my baby will ride with me all the time.”
Nobles made the ride over from Penticton, and said that she was trailed by a wave of bikers whose numbers extended as far as the eye can see.
“I looked in my mirror when we were coming from Penticton, and I clocked one km. It was steady bikes coming, and they were still coming when I went over the (William R. Bennett Bridge) and couldn’t see behind me anymore,” she said. “It was absolutely amazing.”
A total of $1,025 was raised for the Central Okanagan Food Bank, while $1,163.55 was raised for the Kelowna Gospel Mission. $500 was raised for the Ooknakane Friendship Centre, which took care of the event’s breakfast and barbeque.
Nobles called the Ooknakane Friendship Centre her major uplifters.
“When I lose heart, they give me heart back. When I lose faith, they give me faith back,” she said.
For a 25/75 draw, 25 per cent of funds went to the winner, while the remaining 75 per cent will be divided between Gill’s sons to help them buy their first car.
“Everybody wants to help give the boys love from dad,” said Nobles.