Rev Up Your Engines and Organize a Poker Run

Take advantage of poker’s unique appeal and motorcycles’ distinctive magnetism

poker-run-1Poker runs are a great way to raise funds for a charitable cause. The event normally uses motorcycles; however, different variations involved bicycles, cars, boats, and even horses. But no matter what type of vehicle you prefer to use, as long as you have a full tank of gasoline and the drive to help those in need, then you’re all revved up and good to go. Organizing a fun poker run may seem daunting at first, but in hindsight, all the hard work and stress will surely pay off once you see the fruits of all your labor. Here are some of the important points to consider before planning a poker run.
1) Various institutions like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the H. E. R. O. E. S. Care provide a huge helping hand for their targeted cause. That’s why it’s always important to determine a charitable cause to raise funds for. Whether it is for a specific type of cancer research or a campaign to directly assist the United States’ brave soldiers, you should thoroughly plan and research ahead of time.

2) Since time is of the essence when organizing a poker run, you need to set a suitable date for the event. Pick out a time of the year when the weather smiles back at you for a more carefree riding experience. However, if your community has an upcoming festival or feast day, you can also consider connecting it in concurrence with the event.

3) Make sure to have reliable insurance papers and other necessary documents for your event to push through. You have to greatly consider the importance of all the riders’ safety and the establishments’ liability insurance. 

4) To boost your funds, you have to get sponsors to support your event. It can be as simple as a business logo being displayed along the route or as fancy as a gasoline sponsorship from ExxonMobil. It won’t be hard to find an appropriate backer for a legitimate poker run event, especially with the attractiveness of the game of poker, and the offhand charm of motorcycles. 

5) You need to firmly set guidelines for the event’s participants, and provide each one with a copy. Also, make certain the officials and other organizers know how the game works and the ranking of each poker hand. You wouldn’t want to get confused between participants and officials.

6) Carefully map a route while you drive and time it. Allot extra time for games and pit stops along the path. Convenience establishments are good options, especially when participants need to get their fill of coffee, soda, or take bathroom breaks. Just make sure to contact the management to notify them about possible traffic congestion in the area.

7) Lastly, there is no “I” in “team,” so you have to gather up volunteers for the poker run. Supply everyone with basic essentials like food, water, and uniforms for the whole day event. And to add more fun, you can also let them arbitrate exciting activities and mini-games in their outposts.

Key West Poker Run Evolves into Key West Bike Week

2013 Early Poker Run Photo Phil, Char, Ace, ButchPhil Peterson’s Key west Poker Run started some 41 years ago as just an idea to drum up some business during a normally slow time of year for his motorcycle business in Miami and Key West. Phil thought  if he had a Poker Run to Key West in August and made an event of it, that would do the trick.  Phil and a handful of local motorcycle riders, mostly from the Mustang Motorcycle Club decided to try it. The Run started early Saturday morning with sign up at the Miami Store, a ride to Key West  hitting five restaurants or bars to draw a card and arriving in Key West in time to get cleaned up for the Awards Dinner, Dance and Bike Show.  The best hands would win prizes and as an added attraction they had a Best Dressed Contest (where riders and their passengers would wear matching boots, pants and shirts with their helmets panted to match their bikes) so not only was the bike judged but also the riders we judged for the best looking couple and they were awarded  trophies. On Sunday morning they would have a Field Meet showing off their rider skills and scored for different events i.e. slow race, roll a barrel with your front tire, ride over the teeter-totter plank etc. Competing for trophies) In those days there where small well organized riders clubs with  a lot of camaraderie and friendly competition between clubs. Everyone would return home on Sunday afternoon and this went on for many years in the early days of the Poker Runs.

Today the Poker Run has grown into a major event with police estimates of ten to fifteen thousand riders. In the recent years it has managed to sell out all of the Key West Hotels with more and more riders staying on nearby Islands and traveling into Key West for the day or party that they want to attend. Drew Peterson, Phil’s son, now manages and promotes  the Poker run and believes another way that we can grow this event is to make it a Key’s Bike Week with a Key West Poker Run. So this year the plan is to have motorcycle rides, events and attractions  throughout the Upper and Middle Keys to attract riders to come and stay for the Week and Island hop. There are thousands of hotel rooms and places to stay thought-out the upper and middle keys.  The idea is to ride down and ride all over the Keys for the first three or four days and enjoy many of the things you can do like, snorkeling or dive trips, fishing and fishing trips, kayaking, jet skiing, para-sailing  and of course enjoying Paradise while eating, drinking and shopping. Then there is the Poker Run which will start one day earlier this year on Thursday.  Poker Run stops will open on Thursday morning when the first stop Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo opens at 9am. The run ends on Saturday at 5 pm in Key West at the last stop which is the Conch Republic. So far all of the first four stops Gilbert’s on Key Largo, Post Card Inn on Islamorada, The Island Fish Co on Marathon and Boondocks on Ramrod Key plan on having special events and parties all week long with each of them having one big party day in that week. You will find all of the hotel accommodations listed by mile marker and rates with phone numbers and e-mail addresses for all of the Keys by visiting Petersonsharley.com and clicking on the Poker Run link.

Best Dressed 41 years ago

Best Dressed 41 years ago

New this year, the Peterson’s are working with Yuengling to give away two new Harley-Davidson Motorcycles at their annual New Model Open House/Pre Poker Run Parties. On Saturday September 14th at Peterson’s Harley-Davidson of Miami and on Sunday September 15th  at Peterson’s Harley-Davidson South one lucky winner at each location will win a new motorcycle or a $10,000 Peterson’s gift certificate.

Again, the yearly recurring events in Key west will happen auto–magically as they do every year and as they are listed at Petersonsharley.com in the poker run link and in the agenda or programs. Events like the 6th Annual Upper Duval Crawl on ThursdayNight, Vendors Village on Green street on Friday and Saturday, Sunset Festivals at Mallory Square, The  Hog Roast at Schooner Wharf BarFriday Night, Duval Street Party closed to motorcycle parking and foot traffic only Friday and Saturday, Rick’s / Durty Harry’s Bike Show by Big Bike Rider’s Association Saturday, Sloppy Joe’s Biker Beer Garden sponsored by Yuengling Beer, 19th Annual Blessing of the Bikes by the Christian Motorcycle Association, Biker Bash Pool Party at the Southernmost Hotel Collection all weekend, Biker Bloody Mary Brunch at the Southernmost Beach Café on Sunday. The main event is the awards for the best poker hands and the one game of Texas Hold-em for the New Harley-Davidson 883 Iron held at what used to be called Cowboy’s now under new owners it is called The Rose Tattoo Bar .

Again this year, you can sign up on line now for the Poker Run at petersonsharley.com  or in person starting September 1st , at one of the Peterson’s Harley-Davidson Dealerships. You can also sign up in Key West at the Conch Republic Seafood starting September 19th and you can do the Poker Run in reverse or draw all five cards on the spot. Buy as many hands as you like and increase your chances.  Sign up for the Poker Run is ten dollars a hand and you will also receive a discount price of five dollars for a parking band for each motorcycle. The band will give you free parking on Duval Street for the Friday and Saturday Street Parties. If you do not sign up for the Poker Run you will have to buy a Duval Parking band for ten dollars on site when entering Duval Street. All proceeds go to help local charities like the Diabetes Research institute and the Key West Rotary Club so sign up and help a good cause.

New this year is a contest for the Oldest Official Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run t-shirt with $500 going to the winner, time and place to be announced. There will also be the Furthest Traveled Contest the winner must have ridden their motorcycle the entire distance, to be announced at the final awards at 11 pm Saturday night.

Make plans to attend and enjoy this world famous annual charity event all for a good cause. Sign up and stay up with the latest updates on the Poker Run at petersonsharley.com

2013 early Poker run Feild meet photo 2013 early Poker run Mustang MC Club

Make Helen Georgia Your 2013 Destination!

Helen Georgia is the destination for motorcyclists from all over the USA for the USRiderNews Reunion Run, May 29-June 2nd

Helen Georgia is the destination for motorcyclists from all over the USA for the USRiderNews Reunion Run, May 29-June 2nd

Helen Georgia is your destination for the biggest and best motorcycle rally May 29,  through June 2nd.  Sponsored by USRiderNews, the 13th annual Reunion Run has grown from a few dozen friends in 2001, to literally thousands of motorcyclists who travel from all across the USA.

Sylvia Cochran, of USRiderNews said Helen Georgia was chosen as the destination for the Reunion Run motorcycle rally because of the areas natural beauty and miles and miles of the best  motorcycle roads anywhere in the Southeast.

“After the first year we knew that Helen Georgia was the premier motorcycle destination our readers enjoyed and it’s grown larger and larger each year.   Our readers tell us they look forward to this event all year long.”

In addition to the Reunion Run, the Helen Balloonfest is also held on the same weekend and features dozens of hot air balloons in a Race to the Atlantic.

The host hotels are the Best Western and the Super 8.   To reserve your room you must call Sylvia at 478-237-3761 or fill out the registration form here.  DO NOT call the hotel directly, they will tell you they are booked.

VIP packages are available and include everything you need to enjoy the weekend (except your lodging) Event T-Shirt, Event Pin, poker run registration, bike show, VIP party Thursday night May 30th (Free Beer and Food) and access to the VIP tent all weekend long with free refreshments.

( $85 value if purchased individually) Price $35 per person, or $60 per couple  until April 1st.  Price increases $10 after that. 

To reserve your VIP registration click here to register online

View Pictures of past events

2010  (opens in Facebook)

2001-2009 (opens in Facebook)

 

 

Sauk City, WI Freedom Ride Brings in Over 1,400 Motorcyclists and $80,000 for MDA

MDA clients and their families cheer on the riders as they depart from Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson (L-R) Candace Miller, Joseph Tress Jr., Ethan Tress, Peggy Nied, Melinda Heathcote, Annie Heathcote, George Heathcote, Elias Armada, Andella Armada, Libby Ararmada

SAUK CITY, Wis., July 22, 2011—The roads of southern Wisconsin roared with the sound of 1,000 motorcycles last weekend at the 26th Annual MDA Freedom Ride.

Nearly 1,400 motorcycle enthusiasts rallied together July 15-16 for the 70-mile ride to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The two-day event, which raised nearly $85,000 for local MDA clients, began Friday with festivities including a Poker Run, family activities, bike show, dinner and entertainment at VFW Park in Prairie du Sac.

Local MDA clients and their families cheered on the riders with homemade signs of encouragement and thanks as the motorcycles departed from Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson Saturday afternoon. Clients included Joseph and Ethan Tress, 6 and 1 of Middleton; Annie Heathcote, 12 of Mazomanie; and Andella Armaza, 2 of Madison.

Peggy Nied, along with her daughter and grandson, attended the MDA Freedom Ride to see the riders off in memory of her son, Kyle. Kyle, 23, of Madison, had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and passed away of late last month. According to Peggy, Kyle would have wanted to be there to support the Freedom Ride.

After the ride, many of the children and their families stayed to talk with the riders and thank them for their contribution to MDA. All of the money raised at the Freedom Ride helps clients like Joseph, Ethan, Annie and Andella by financing UW Hospital clinic visits, wheelchair and leg brace repairs, support groups, and a weeklong stay at MDA Summer Camp in Kenosha County.

Riders enjoyed post-ride activities at VFW Park, including a pork chop dinner, bike games, raffles, drinks and entertainment by LUBE. Carol Thompson of Mount Horeb won the grand prize at the raffle and will enjoy a 4-day trip to Las Vegas to see the 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon.

MDA Freedom Ride coordinators would like to thank the Sauk Prairie Harley Owners Group Chapter members and Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson employees. Their constant commitment to the cause made the 2011 MDA Freedom Ride an unforgettable event.

 The Freedom Ride is the longest single dealer Harley-Davidson fundraising event to benefit MDA in Wisconsin. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 Harley-Davidson MDA events in the nation, the ride has raised over $1.8 million net since its inception in 1985.

 MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat more than 43 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and far-reaching professional and public health education. To volunteer or for more information about MDA’s programs and services, call (608) 222-3269.

2,000 Motorcyclists Expected to Ride for a Reason in Sauk City, Wisconsin This Weekend

SAUK CITY, Wis., July 12, 2011—More than 2,000 motorcyclists are expected to gather for the 26th Annual Freedom Ride to Benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association July 15-16 in Sauk City.

The Freedom Ride is the longest single dealer Harley-Davidson fundraising event to benefit MDA in Wisconsin. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 Harley-Davidson MDA events in the nation, the ride has raised over $1.7 million net since its inception in 1985.

Registration for the 26th Annual Freedom Ride is Friday, July 15, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, July 16, from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson.

Registration is $25 per rider. All proceeds benefit local MDA clients. However, riders can also become “pledge riders” and receive different prizes:

Pledge Amount – Prizes

$100- Pin or patch and a Pork Chop Dinner

$150- Pin or patch, Pork Chop Dinner, T-shirt and waived registration fee

$800 “Summer Camp Club” Member- Pin or patch, Pork Chop Dinner, T-shirt, $75 Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson gift card, invitation to the Summer Camp Reception following the ride

$1000- Pin or patch, Pork Chop Dinner, T-shirt, $100 Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson gift card

$2000- Pin or patch, Pork Chop Dinner, T-shirt, $100 Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson gift card

Additionally, For ever $100 raised, Pledge Riders will be entered into a raffle to win a 4-day trip to Las Vegas to attend the 2011 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

Friday night’s pre-ride festivities include a bike show, poker run, and family activities and live music by Boys Night Out.

 The ride leaves Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson, 836 Phillips Boulevard, Sauk City, Saturday at 12 p.m. sharp and travels through the rolling hills of scenic Southwestern Wisconsin. The ride will stop in Loganville before returning to the VFW Park on the Wisconsin River. Post-ride festivities include a raffle, bike games, Pork Chop dinner, live music by Lube and a drawing.

 All of the money raised will help benefit local MDA clients and services. MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat 43 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and far-reaching professional and public health education.  For more information about MDA’s programs and services, call (800) 222-3269.

America’s Original Riding Rally June 11-19

The Laconia Motorcycle Race and Rally event in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire has been known as one of the most scenic and fun events in history. The nine day event started with only a few hundred motorcyclists and is today the host of more than 188,000 participants.

A brief history – Started in 1916 as a one day event, then came the Louden Classic race in 1923 and the Gypsy Tour soon after. Then seven years later, it turned into a week long event until fighting between local cops and gangs lead to the decline of scheduled events. It wasn’t until the Loconia Motorcycle Rally and Race Association  was formed in the early 1990’s, did the event turn into the nine day event you know today that ends on Father’s Day.

This year marks the 88th Anniversary (sponsored by Progressive) and you can expect all the usual exciting events with many new ones that are sure to captivate every motorcyclist. Some events scheduled are:

  • Free Motorcycle Photo Exhibit
  • Vintage Road racing
  • Biker Build Off – sponsored by Spiced Jack 94 Rum and Lobster Pond
  • Tricycle Drags @ Bullwinkle’s
  • Jagermeister Promos all week long
  • Poker Run, Bikini Contest, and Hot Legs Contest on Thursday
  • Pool Tournament and Rally in the Valley

and plenty of live music by some familiar faces… Click here for full info

Laughlin River Run: April 27-May 1

 

Riding Route 66 down the Colorado River can take your breath away…then again so can the entertainment at the Laughlin River Run. Every year motorcyclist come from all over to Laughlin, Nevada to make the biggest gatherings of it’s type. In 2007, a record 70,000 participants came to enjoy the beautiful scenery and wild nightlife.

Brief History: The name for the event comes from the fact you ride out to the Colorado River on Route 66, going thru Oatman, AZ. and Kingman, AZ. then down to Lake Havasu City, AZ.Other riders go across the river to Laughlins sister city, Bullhead City, AZ.

Among the non-riding public, LRR is probably known more for the first multiple murders in a casino in history when a brutal fight broke out between the Hells Angels and the Mongols in Harrah’s Casino on April 27, 2002.

Click here to learn how the brawl changed history.

Events include:

  • Custom Bike Show – $1,500 prize
  • Poker Run – Proceeds to benefit American Veterans
  • Cheech and Chong Comedy Tour
  • Free Outdoor Entertainment
  • Leather, Lace, Bikini Swimsuit Party
  • Bedroom Babes Lingerie Contest

Attractions within comfortable riding distance:

  1. Hoover Dam
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. The London Bridge – near Lake Havasu