BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico man is on the shortlist to build the bike of his dreams alongside his childhood heroes in a Discovery Channel competition. Jason Rockwell is no stranger to body shops. “I have been doing it before I could walk,” Rockwell said. “People laugh when I say that, but my dad actually has videos of me learning how to do body work in a diaper.”
The New Mexico native said he spent his childhood in the garage with his dad working on anything he could get his hands on. “To him, it was a hobby,” Rockwell said. “To me, it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and so I was always learning how to use new tools watching shows like Orange County Choppers.”
Now, he may be featured on TV alongside stars from that very same show. He is a contestant in Dream Chopper, a Discovery Channel online competition that gives one lucky winner a custom dream bike, a feature on American Chopper, and a magazine cover. “It is a life-changing opportunity,” Rockwell said.
He said the competition has helped deliver him from a dark time in his life. He lost a newborn daughter years ago, subsequently being forced to sell the body shop he and his father had just opened in Bernalillo. “It put me in a dark place,” Rockwell said. “As a result, our family business failed. “I tried, but I could not get my head in the game.”
His fiance said she’s seen his passion for bodywork relit during the past few weeks of the competition, describing the change in him as a total 180. “It’s been inspiring,” his fiance, Joalda Lopez, said. “I don’t want to say…almost short of a miracle.”
Rockwell said if he wins, he is naming the bike after the daughter he lost, Callie, hoping to inspire others. “I want to show the world you don’t have to sit in the darkness,” Rockwell said. You can get up, move, and achieve great things.”
Rockwell currently works as a fabricator at Trucks Unique in Albuquerque with the dream of owning his own business building custom motorcycles and cars one day. You can vote for him here.
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