MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
More than 40 motorcyclists participated in the first Poker Run hosted by the Armed Services YMCA at New River Harley Davidson Buell motorcycle shop in Jacksonville, N.C., July 16. This was an ASYMCA fundraising event that was open to the public, and it was a combination of a motorcycle run and poker game.
Riders rolled in to register for the event around 9:30 a.m. on the day of the event. The cost of the event was $10 for single riders and $15 for riders with a passenger.
Participants mingled and talked about their favorite bikes and roads to ride on while the sun reflected off the polished chrome and paint of bikes leaning together in a formation.
After an hour of registering, riders zipped up their leather jackets, fitted their helmets and mounted their bikes. To identify event participants, all riders were given wristbands and a tally sheet to keep track of their poker hand.
At 10:30 a.m., the bikers revved their motors and started the run from the New River Harley Davidson Buell, where they also received their first card, making stops at various businesses to pick up a card at each checkpoint before returning to the New River Harley Davidson Buell to complete the course.
As riders returned from the 60-mile route, their stomachs continued to rumble like the bikes they rolled in on. The Harley shop provided hot dogs right off the grill and cold beverages to tame their hunger and quench their thirst.
"I'm giving these dogs my special touch," said Cpl. Aaron Carter, a warehouse clerk with 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, one of the volunteers who helped grill.
Around 2 p.m., everyone gathered around the tents for the raffle drawing prize giveaway and the announcement of the rider with the winning poker hand. Raffle winners received items such as helmets, gloves, T-shirts and gift certificates provided by area businesses.
The poker run winner was Joe Knipe, a former Marine, and he received a $200 gift certificate to a local tattoo parlor. His winning hand was a three-of-a-kind of jacks.
"I really enjoyed the event," said Knipe. "The course was nice and the weather was perfect. I'd be happy to support the YMCA at any of their events."
A few Marines with 3rd and 5th Battalions, 10th Marines, volunteered to help the YMCA at the Poker Run.
"It's a good feeling to be able to give back to the community," said Carter. "I'm a family man myself, and it's good to see the all people out supporting the YMCA because they do a lot for the service members and their families."
Many volunteers and local businesses helped to make the event possible.
"The YMCA didn't have to pay for any of the prizes or food provided at this event," said Barbara Robinson, program director with ASYMCA. "We're fortunate to have all these volunteers and (businesses) supporting us. I'm thankful for all of their help. I think the event turned out great so we'll probably hold this event next year."
For more information on ASYMCA programs and events call 450-0497 or visit lejeuneasymca.org.