DANVILLE — The Danville firefighters' International Association of Firefighters Local 429 and the Friendly Tavern are sponsoring their 14th poker run on July 7, with proceeds from the event going to help local veterans.
Registration for the event begins at 10 a.m. July 7 at the Friendly Tavern, and the ride begins at 12 p.m. Riders will leave the Friendly Tavern and ride to five locations, where they will receive a playing card, and then will return to the Friendly Tavern. The rider with the best hand after the five stops will win $500. Riders may also pre-register at the Friendly Tavern from July 4-8. The entry fee for the poker run is $15. Additional poker hands can be bought for $5. You do not have to ride a motorcycle to participate. Any legal form of transportation is accepted.
The poker run started in the summer of 1999 with 80 motorcycles and has grown to more than 500 motorcycles with more than 700 participants. This will be the seventh consecutive year that Local 429 has been involved with the goal of raising money for charities.
In the past 13 years, more than $68,000 has been generated for charitable organizations, including Shop With A Cop, Make a Wish Foundation, Faith In Action, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Family Readiness Group, Aunt Martha's Health Clinic, the Danville Area Food Pantry, the Red, White and Blue Child Passenger Safety Team, Project Success, Court-Appointed Special Advocates and Peer Court.
With July 4 so close to the poker run this year, organizers have chosen to celebrate the nation's freedoms and honor the men and women who make it possible, so Local 429 and the Friendly are partnering with Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System in Danville and the 40 and 8 Veterans Organization, which has various charitable causes, including nurse training.
Funds donated to the VA will provide clothing for needy veterans. Last year, the VA provided basic clothing to nearly 1,000 veterans and coats to more than 100. Due to new federal regulations and health concerns with communicable diseases, the VA is no longer able to accept used clothing, which means all clothing must be purchased new. All of the clothing for the local veterans is purchased in Danville.
Funds donated to the 40 and 8 organization will be used for nurse training programs. Currently the 40 and 8 can fund three scholarships per year to nursing students at either Lakeview College of Nursing or the Danville Area Community College Nursing Program. With the funds generated from this activity, Local 429 and the Friendly hope to provide more educational opportunities to local nursing students.
The event will also feature a raffle drawing for $500 of Harley Davidson merchandise and more than $2,500 in other prizes.There also will be a 50-50 drawing.At the conclusion of the run, the Friendly Tavern will host a live band, "Dodi Bone." Food will be provided for those who enter the poker run, and the cost is $5 for anyone else. Door prizes also will be awarded.
Andre's Harley Davidson of Urbana will be there with the "Jump Start" trailer that enables people to test ride a Harley without leaving the parking lot, and M-K Photography of Rossville will be taking photographs of riders throughout the day. Photographers will travel to different stops along the ride, capturing memories of the day's event, and participants can purchase a CD of the day's pictures.
For more information, call Local 429 member Justin Watt at 497-3102.