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2015 TOP STORIES: The locals who put the Okanagan on the map

Kelowna-born Taylor Kitsch stars in True Detective season two as Paul Woodrugh.
Image Credit: wikipedia.org
December 31, 2015 - 9:00 PM

OKANAGAN – Last year was big one for Okanagan film production with marquee names like Sir Anthony Hopkins and Julia Stiles filming in the area, but this year quite a few locals got their own names out to the world in 2015.

Freestyle motocross rider Bruce Cook came back from a terrible accident that left him paralyzed below the waist and this year became the first paraplegic rider to complete a backflip in front of a major audience this summer.

Bruce Cook is the first paraplegic to land a back flip on a motorcycle in front of an audience.
Bruce Cook is the first paraplegic to land a back flip on a motorcycle in front of an audience.
Image Credit: Facebook

It was also a stellar year for Kelowna’s Toshido MMA, with Matt Dwyer’s superman punch heard around the world, Sarah Moras’ return to the octagon and newcomer Shane “Shaolin” Campbell's UFC debut in April.

Kelowna's own Matt Dwyer scored his first UFC win in Brazil last weekend.
Kelowna's own Matt Dwyer scored his first UFC win in Brazil last weekend.
Image Credit: Facebook

A local social media expert made international headlines in 2015 when she used Facebook to find her long-lost father, who turned out to be an Elvis impersonator in Thailand.

Melonie Dodaro's father, who went by the stage name Colin Young, is now an Elvis impersonator in Thailand.
Melonie Dodaro's father, who went by the stage name Colin Young, is now an Elvis impersonator in Thailand.
Image Credit: Contributed

West Kelowna’s Kelly Derrickson also had a big year, winning best female country music album at the Coachella Valley Music Awards and Best New Artist at the Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg.

Singer-songwriter Kelly Margaret Derrickson, born in Kelowna, recently won a Coachella Valley Music Award in the female country category.
Singer-songwriter Kelly Margaret Derrickson, born in Kelowna, recently won a Coachella Valley Music Award in the female country category.
Image Credit: Contributed

Another West Kelowna resident, Jill Setah, made her fashion debut this year when she was invited to show her designs at Fashion Week in Los Angeles.

Westbank mother Jill Setah was invited to show her clothing line at a major Los Angeles fashion show this year.
Westbank mother Jill Setah was invited to show her clothing line at a major Los Angeles fashion show this year.
Image Credit: Contributed

Pro superbike racer and champion Marcel Irnie continues to tear up the track in the U.S. despite losing two of his bikes to theft over the summer.

Kelowna superbike racer Marcel Irnie had two BMW S1000 RR race bikes stolen from a trailer in Kelowna.
Kelowna superbike racer Marcel Irnie had two BMW S1000 RR race bikes stolen from a trailer in Kelowna.
Image Credit: Contributed

Kelowna local and DJ Will Ramadan released a new single with legendary UK artist Fatman Scoop to help Syrians in need.

Will Ramadan aka. KnowleDJ and Fatman Scoop in Las Vegas.
Will Ramadan aka. KnowleDJ and Fatman Scoop in Las Vegas.
Image Credit: Contributed

Kelowna photographer Shawn Talbot finished his first season of 1-Stop Closer, a web based show following his travels around the world.

Shawn Talbot in Iceland during filming of the final episode of season one.
Shawn Talbot in Iceland during filming of the final episode of season one.
Image Credit: Contributed

And Kelowna born actor and model Taylor Kitsch, best known for his portrayal of Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, was cast on HBO's series True Detective.

Kelowna born actor Taylor Kitsch has confirmed he will play a role on the second season of HBO's True Detective.
Kelowna born actor Taylor Kitsch has confirmed he will play a role on the second season of HBO's True Detective.
Image Credit: wikimedia.org

Penticton residents making the big news beyond the city limits included hometown hockey hero Duncan Keith, who was instrumental in helping the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup in June.

Keith also made headlines for his work with the team’s social media campaign called “What’s Your Goal,” where Keith helped a little girl who can neither walk or talk score a goal.

Former Kelowna Rocket and Penticton native Duncan Keith makes a little girl's dream come true. She wanted to score a goal with Keith, her favourite Chicago Blackhawks player.
Former Kelowna Rocket and Penticton native Duncan Keith makes a little girl's dream come true. She wanted to score a goal with Keith, her favourite Chicago Blackhawks player.
Image Credit: YouTube photo

Enderby native Rick Dugdale brought a Hollywood film — and Sir Anthony Hopkins — to his home turf to make a movie. Currently living in Los Angeles, Dugdale produced Go With Me under his company, Enderby Entertainment and made his hometown extremely proud. 

Rick Dugdale
Rick Dugdale
Image Credit: Contributed

Vernon woman Raji Aujla introduced an eco-friendly fashion label and plans to use the profits to provide education and skills training to youth in third world countries. 

Raji Aujla walks onstage at the close of her show at Eco-Fashion Week in Vancouver.
Raji Aujla walks onstage at the close of her show at Eco-Fashion Week in Vancouver.
Image Credit: Jensen Lee

Born and raised in Vernon, comedian Sam Mullins now writes sketch comedy for the CBC and spends time telling his most humiliating tales across North America. He returned to Vernon for a special show this year. 

Sam Mullins was born and raised in Vernon. He is now an award-winning comedian based in Toronto.
Sam Mullins was born and raised in Vernon. He is now an award-winning comedian based in Toronto.
Image Credit: Contributed

Did we miss anyone? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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