Top of the Morning, July 23, 2014

Top of the Morning, July 23, 2014

Clear the calendar for a couple good causes

1. Never has traffic looked so good than at the Marine Corps League's annual Wounded Warriors Poker Run.

"If you get 260 bikes, it's going to be an eighth-of-a-mile-long line of motorcycles coming right at you — that's an impressive sight to see," said Chris Hanson, a Champaign firefighter and one of the organizers for Saturday's fundraiser. "You definitely grab everyone's attention riding through some of these small towns."

Saturday's ride starts at noon near Hooters in Champaign and includes stops at Walnut Point State Park, Julees Shooting Star in Westville and Homer Lake. In its eighth year, the Poker Run draws hundreds of two-wheel participants cruisin' to benefit five charities geared toward aiding veterans, including Wounded Warrior Project, Homes For Our Troops and Operation Homefront.

"Any day you ride is a great day," said Hanson, a 30-year motorcyclist. "But when you get a bunch of bikers together who consolidate and ride for a good cause, now that's a really great day."

2. The second leg of Vermilion County's Relay for Life will be just like the first — minus a track to walk around.

A series of thunderstorms forced organizers to call off the June 21 fund raiser (right) just as it was getting started at Catlin High School. The worst part, coordinator Barbara Wright said, was seeing 681 Luminaria bags — candle-lit tributes to cancer survivors and victims — done in by heavy rain and 65 mph winds.

"That was a heartache for everyone," she said.

So they'll try it again Tuesday at Harrison Park Clubhouse in Danville, taking weather out of the equation by holding it inside. Part II will go by "Finish The Fight," Wright said.

"It's like closure for the whole year," she said.

Registration for the Wounded Warriors Poker Run starts at 9 a.m. Saturday ($25 per hand). Visit for information

For information about Tuesday's Relay For Life 2014 of Vermilion County, visit

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