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NM man vies to build dream custom bike

New Mexico native Jason Rockwell is competing in the “Dream Chopper” contest by Discovery Channel. (Courtesy of Jason Rockwell)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Jason Rockwell has always had a knack for fixing things.

He spent his childhood in the garage working with his dad on various projects.

These days, Rockwell is competing in a contest for “Dream Chopper” put on by Discovery Channel. The online contest winner will work with “American Chopper’s” Paul Teutul Sr.

The contest will give one lucky bike enthusiast the opportunity of a lifetime – a custom dream bike built entirely from scratch.

This year’s winner will also join Teutul and the Orange County Choppers crew on an upcoming episode and be featured on the cover of “Cycle Source Magazine.”

Currently, Rockwell is in first place in the quarterfinals. The current round of voting ends on Thursday.

Voting can take place two ways. The first is by donating at dreamchopper.com/2020/jason-rockwell. The money raised supports the Hudson Valley SPCA Foundation, which is a no-kill animal shelter that aims to lead the fight against animal abuse. The other way is a free vote via Facebook.

Rockwell, a New Mexico native, is the lead fabricator at Trucks Unique, where he builds on a daily basis. During the evenings, he can be found creating hot rods and other types of fabrication at his home.

“I took on more work during the pandemic because my wife has been furloughed,” he said. “I had to step up.”

Rockwell, 30, said finding the contest ignited a fire that was missing.

For years, he had a run of setbacks.

In 2006, while living in Tennessee with his father as a teenager, their shop burned down and they lost everything.

At 21, Rockwell’s life was upended when he lost his newborn daughter.

“She was born with a medical condition and didn’t make it out of the hospital,” he said. “My father and I were trying to open a shop (again), and that ended very quickly. My life tumbled down.”

Rockwell carried on as best he could.

When he heard about the contest, he remembered how much he loved building motorcycles.

A father of three, he wants to show his children to never give up.

“I want to prove to them that you can overcome that darkness and achieve greatness,” he says. “There are going to be tragedies in life. You can push through it. I have so many people supporting me right now, it’s amazing. There’s too much at stake for me to walk away from anything now. I want to show how Albuquerque can come together as a community.”

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