MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The sound of revving engines and the smell of chili filled the frigid air in Jacksonville as bikers rode as far as Wilmington, N.C., in the hopes of winning $500 while helping fund a scholarship for children of veterans.
Rolling Thunder Chapter N.C.-5 hosted its 11th Annual Chilly Chili Poker Run Feb. 16 starting at Lejeune Motorsports with three other locations to ride – or drive to.
A poker run, as described by Rolling Thunder Chapter N.C.-5 President Paul Levesque, is an event where patrons register at the starting point where they are given a playing card. Then they ride out to three different locations and collect additional cards. Upon returning to the starting point, they are given their fifth and final card. The riders with the best poker hand win first place and $500. The second-best hand is awarded $200, and the worst hand wins $100.
“This is a fundraiser we do on annually,” said Levesque. “We raise funds in honor of Staff Sgt. Anthony Goodwin. He was killed in action on Mother’s Day of 2005. This is a fundraiser for the scholarship we have in his memory. The scholarship goes to dependents of veterans, retirees or active duty military. Some of the money also goes to helping veterans in general.”
The poker run started rolling at 9 a.m. with people getting to the next location however they could to pick the next card. Motorcycles, cars, trucks and other street-legal vehicles were permitted for the event.
“They’ll leave here and their first stop is New River Harley-Davidson in Jacksonville,” said Levesque. “After they collect the card, they will ride to Carolina Coast Harley-Davidson in Wilmington. The fourth card is collected at Southeastern Steel Choppers in Jacksonville. Then they come back here and get their full hand.”
Food was handed out throughout the day for those registered for the poker run. A raffle took place, and there was a silent auction after all riders returned.
“We normally get a quite a large turnout,” said Levesque. “It’s nice to get a big group of people to come out and take part in a fun event while donating to a good cause to help military families.”