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Former Tadmore resident, now a quadriplegic, writes autobiography

Monte Perepelkin of Calgary has been a quadriplegic since a devastating dirt bike accident in 1999, and yet he was very comfortable naming his autobiography The Perfect Life.

            Monte Perepelkin of Calgary has been a quadriplegic since a devastating dirt bike accident in 1999, and yet he was very comfortable naming his autobiography The Perfect Life.

            After briefly living in British Columbia and Manitoba as a youngster, Perepelkin and his mother Betty moved to Tadmore when he was six years old. He went to school in Canora for grades 1-6, and then was in Sturgis starting in Grade 7.

            Perepelkin has fond memories of this period of his life, especially of living only about two miles from Crystal Lake.

            “I always used to make the bike ride to Crystal Lake, towing a golf cart,” he said in a phone interview last week. “I got pretty good on the golf course there. I even scored a hole-in-one twice, both times on the seventh hole.”

            Perepelkin dropped out of school in Grade 11, mainly because he didn’t feel he was learning skills that would benefit him. He had always enjoyed doing things with wood, and then focused on developing his carpentry skills. At the age of 16 he made some furniture for his mother Betty, which she still has next to her bed in her Sturgis home.

            Over the next few years Perepelkin started getting into trouble, and was arrested on multiple occasions. At the age of 19 he went to jail for six months in Saskatoon for credit card fraud. Perepelkin said that experience cured him of any criminal tendencies, and he hasn’t had any troubles with the law since.

            At the age of 21, Perepelkin got married and moved to Calgary in 1990. He continued to develop his carpentry career, but was also introduced to dirt biking by some friends. He excelled and moved up a class just about every year. By 1995 he was racing professionally while maintaining his carpentry business. Perepelkin was ranked in the top three riders in Canada.

            But on February 12, 1999 his life changed forever. After miscalculating a dangerous triple jump at Arenacross in Lethbridge, Alta, Perepelkin was the victim of a worst-case scenario racing accident.

            He woke up in hospital three days later to find himself permanently paralyzed from the neck down. The accident had left him with a crushed fourth vertebrae. Perepelkin had to face spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic, unable to use his arms or legs.

            Life was full of difficult challenges after the accident, both mentally and physically. He discovered he could shrug his shoulders, but that’s the only physical movement he can make below his neck. He remains in the same condition today. The adjustment was tough, and Perepelkin admits he even contemplated suicide.

            But he carried on, and eventually he said he discovered inner strength he never knew he had.

            Perepelkin said he learned to appreciate many things in his life that he previously took for granted. He learned to really see people and read them, even without speaking to them.

            Perepelkin admits he’s not a big fan of public speaking, but has done it a few times because he can see that it helps people. His public speaking videos can be found on-line by doing a search under his name.

            In 2014, Perepelkin decided to write a book about his life to try and show readers that it’s possible to go through difficult things and still be happy, mainly due to the strength of the human spirit.

            He called the book The Perfect Life, because he now believes that this is the life he needed to live. Perepelkin also recognizes that the title may mean different things to different readers.

            The actual writing of the book required over four million keystrokes by Perepelkin, using a mouth-stick gripped between his teeth. He had a keyboard and mouse modified specifically to meet his needs.

            The cover of the book is a painting depicting a moment of clarity for Perepelkin which happened near the Glenmore Reservoir, just outside Calgary, in 2009. It was then he realized that his life was good, and it had taken him where he needed to be.    

            The Perfect Life is 498 pages long and available in soft cover edition or e-book format. Presale started on June 1, and the official release is scheduled for June 28. The book is available through Amazon, Barns & Noble, and other booksellers across North America.

             Perepelkin will be making a personal appearance to support his book at the Moto Valley Raceway in Regina on June 24-25. He encourages everyone from the Canora/Tadmore region to come by for a visit, and if they ask, he’ll gladly sign books for them.