I went on my 1st Poker run today. It was to raise money for "Get behind the Badge". A charity created to help the families of firefighters, police and peace officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Todays run was the Terry McDowell Memorial Poker Run. Registration was at 10 am and cost $15 per bike and $20 if you had a rider. Terry McDowell was a police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
I have heard about and done my research of Poker Runs and was excited about getting to participate in one. A friend and I showed up around 10:30. My friend has ridden in several runs in the past. I was glad he knew the ropes and what to do. We registered and was looking at the map. He had told me that usually groups of 5-10 bikes go out every few minutes and at the different stops you either get your map signed (and chose a card upon arrival at the end) or you chose a playing card at the stop and have your card recorded on the map.
As we were looking at our maps and trying to figure out the route, a guy said that we would leave at noon all together and would have an escort. My buddy and I discussed leaving with the group and thought there would be long lines at each stop to get your card or signature. We decided that with the provided map, we could find the stops and not have to wait in the lines if we left before the group. After watching the people a little, it was obvious that some of the others were thinking the same thing as we were, and leaving early. My buddy sighted a couple that looked like they were planning to leave. He asked their intention and found out that they indeed were thinking this also. He then asked if we could tag along with them. They told him that they had a GPS and was confident they could find the stops.
We left following the couple on their Softtail. Me on my Road King and my buddy on his Sportster.
The route took us past a memorial erected for Terry McDowell, then into a nearby cemetery past his gravesite, back onto the state road to the first stop approximately 20 miles away. We stopped to get what we needed done to our maps and they told us that all we needed to do was ride the route and show up at the last stop (Captain Jacks). Without drawing a card or any proof we were there. We had a refreshing drink and went on our way to the next stop about 17 miles away and then stop for another drink. I personally wasn't thirsty and passed on the drink, but sat while the others had something. On the road, I had been thinking that without the need to get something done at the stops. Why would one ride the route? You could go home, take a nap and then show up at Captain Jacks that evening. This took the wind out of my sails (so to speak). It made less sense for me to follow the map. We did leave an hour early and followed the map and so arrived at Captain Jacks about 2 hours ahead of the scheduled group arrival. They had planned about a half hour for each stop. The four of us on our 3 bikes didn't take near that long for a cool refreshment. The group would need longer since they would have to wait on the 2 or 3 barkeeps to take care of all their wants. At Captain Jacks, we waited for the group to arrive. Food was provided and we did enjoy it, ahead of the group. We were done eating and enjoying a beverage when the stampede came in. The food line was endless and the bar was crowded waiting on the few to serve the masses. After the lines finally shortened to stragglers and the room was full of bikers. Someone came on a microphone and said that we would have to be patient. We were told that 3 bikes had gone down today and the chase car with the cards on it was delayed. We 4 had been waiting for 3 hours now and still no cards had been drawn. My buddy said he was getting tired of waiting. I thought and said that after the cards do arrive, everyone who paid the entry fee would have to get in line to draw cards. This time we would be in line waiting as well. No one would find out who won the contest until all had chosen their cards. Even after the cards arrived, it would likely be another hour or more waiting before a winner would be announced.
We cut our losses and went home without drawing our card.
Next week is another Poker Run and maybe it will be better organized.
1 year ago