The fourth annual Rex Gill Memorial Ride is set for Saturday, Sept. 24 to continue raising funds in the Penticton man’s memory, and the memory of Mike Courtney.
Gill, himself started the ride in 2018 to raise funds for the homeless, and had just finished his ride in 2019 when he was murdered at the Kamloops Comfort Inn.
His murder remains unsolved. Police believe it is a case of mistaken identity.
Friends and family took up Gill’s cause to raise funds and bring awareness to the needs of the Kelowna Gospel Mission and food banks.
Since 2021, the ride has also been dedicated to the memory of one of Gill’s friends, Mike Courtney.
In 2020, on his return from the memorial ride, the kickstand on Courtney’s bike came out while he was riding, causing him to crash and suffer fatal injuries.
The ride has continued to grow year over year, with just five people in 2020 and around 60 riding in 2021.
The ride raises funds for the Kelowna Gospel Mission and local food banks. In previous years, it also raised funds for the Ooknakane Friendship Centre, which helped with previous rides.
“He started this in 2018 because he found that the gospel mission just relied on donations from people, and they are the only ones that give everything away to people that need it,” said Gill’s mom Marie Nobles. “And because of all things that were happening, the fires and the floods, it had really hit them hard. And the food bank needs $6,000 a month to make it through.”
Everything that is raised and donated goes further, as Nobles pointed out how the gospel mission and the food banks are able to leverage the money they get to have double and triple the buying power to supply themselves with what they need.
At the end of the day, the ride is about awareness. It is about bringing awareness to the food banks and gospel mission and the needs they have to help the homeless. It’s also about bringing awareness to Gill’s still unsolved murder, and this year it is also about impact of the residential school system.
“We are Indigenous, and some of my family was in residential school and are still affected by it,” said Nobles. “This year we are having orange flags, with a picture of Rex on it and the bear paw because we’re from the bear clan.
“We know that some of us are still missing. We don’t know where they are, and the parents and siblings are still hoping that someday they’ll find them.”
Any information that can help identify the person who killed Gill continues to remain a key part of the ride, particularly anything that might connect Gill to the other murder that occurred that day in Kamloops.
Police have stated that they believe Gill’s death was the result of a mistaken identity.
“If anybody in Kamloops on Jan. 23 , between 6 and 8 a.m., saw anything, or think they saw anything, or had a dashcam or a camera at your house, please contact the RCMP,” said Nobles.
The ride starts with breakfast from 8 a.m until 9:15 by donation, bannock, eggs and sausage, and Tim Hortons is donating coffee and hot chocolate.
The ride starts in front of Coyote Cruises in Penticton where Gill worked for 14 years.
“He was called ‘Sexy Rexy’ and they even put that on his bus. People would skip to be able get the Sexy Rexy bus,” Nobles recalled.
At the other end of the ride, there will be a barbecue lunch also by donation at Konquer Motorcycles in Kelowna.
Sandman is also offering to be a destination hotel for the ride in Kelowna and Penticton for riders.
People participating in the ride can get a standard room for a discounted rate.
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