Stunt rider says his passion is connecting with the ‘hopeless’

Photos by Tom Rivers: A group of church leaders in Orleans County pray with Scott Caraboolad, center right, on Sunday night after a 2-hour service at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. Caraboolad and the Ride 4 Life ministry are scheduled for several motorcycle stunt shows from Sept. 13-15 at three local schools and also at community events.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2018 at 5:13 pm

Scott Caraboolad says everything about his life before he was a Christian was offensive

Scott Caraboolad shares a message Sunday during a service at the 4-H Fairgrounds that was attended by pastors and church leaders from several congregations in Orleans County. The churches are part of PACT (Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation). They say Caraboolad has a powerful message of overcoming addiction and turning his life around.

KNOWLESVILLE – Scott Caraboolad sees the videos of his old self, doing wheelies down the highway and weaving through traffic, a public menace. Other times he’s stoned while being interviewed.

Caraboolad antagonized the police, was a drug addict and neglected his family.

He was close to ending his own life on Oct. 4, 2011. That day he felt the presence of God and started to turn his life around. He said it took two years to detangle himself from his business partners and his old way of life.

For more than four years he has run the Ride 4 Life ministry, bringing a message of redemption over addictions and urging people not to chase the emptiness of material possessions, fame and fortune.

Caraboolad performed stunts on his motorcycle last year for several thousand people in Orleans County during three days in October. He will be back Sept. 13-15 with shows at the Lyndonville, Holley and Kendall school districts, and community events in Medina, Albion and the Fairgrounds in Knowlesville.

At the schools, he tells students to find mentors, make good choices and resist drugs. During his community events, he shares more from his Christian faith, how God has given him the strength to turn back from his old self and be a devoted husband and father.

The “spiritual hole in his heart as an unbeliever” had him chasing for happiness in all the wrong ways. “I was a horrible father, a horrible husband, a pill popper, a heroin addict.”

The worship band on Sunday included Jodi Peters, Gary Smith on drums and Russ Peters, who is pastor of Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship.

A group of pastors in Orleans County saw how Caraboolad connected with students last year and other community members. They say the county is in the grip of an opioid epidemic that has killed 16 people in the past two years and affected many other families.

The pastors and other agencies will attend the events and will be there to provide resources for students and adults fighting addictions.

Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, said the local churches want to bring a message of hope to the community.

Caraboolad said he is drawn to “the ones the world says are hopeless.” He does about 50 events a year, going to prisons, schools and other community events.

The Albion Police Department has concerns about Caraboolad’s past selling T-shirts with an anti-police message and his actions as a reckless rider on the highways.

Caraboolad is from Akron, Ohio, where he has a rap sheet and his mug shot shows up online. He was well known to police there. When he started Ride 4 Life, the Akron police opposed shutting down a street for a stunt show. Caraboolad said he apologized to the Akron police chief and the police there have supported his events.

“I was in darkness,” he said about his law-breaking days. “I’m the first to apologize.”

Caraboolad said other people have posted the videos of him, sometimes making them appear as if he was recently being an outlaw rider.

Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion and one of the members of PACT, said Caraboolad shows that anybody can change. The Albion pastor says Caraboolad and his team bring a powerful message of hope to a community that needs it.

Lindsay has seen the old videos of Caraboolad, and the pastor said the dramatic change shows the power of God in transforming a life.

“Scott is a changed man and people need what he can bring to our community,” Lindsay said during Sunday’s evening service.

Randy Bower, the Orleans County sheriff, greeted Caraboolad on Sunday with a hug. Caraboolad drove more than 4 hours to attend the service in Knowlesville. Bower said he supports Caraboolad’s message “that everyone has a true purpose.”

Caraboolad urged the community to not give up on people mired in addiction.

“Some people think once someone goes down the wrong road they are hopeless,” Caraboolad said. “But that is not true. I was Sinner No. 1. I was a rotting and completely broken man.”

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