LAUGHLIN — The hope was to grow the annual poker run, but the amount of growth exceeded expectations. The Men of Fire Chapter 6 NW Arizona held their event during the Laughlin River Run last week to help raise funds to support local veterans.
Chapter president Ryan Granath said he was hoping for about 250 to 300 and ended up having 350 registered participants. Numbers included about 80 riders from visiting chapters, he continued.
The Men of Fire were having a national meeting and so several members from other states including Washington, northern Virginia and others, Granath said. There was some members from Canada, California, Las Vegas and others who all showed up to support the run. That’s the kind of support given. That’s about their brotherhood, he continued.
Andy Carver, of the Men of Fire Chapter 10 NOVA (Northern Virginia), was one of the many visiting bikers. He said he thought that part of the strong presence by the Men of Fire is that everyone is looking to strengthen the brotherhood that existed between firefighters previously. It’s waned some in the fire department and this type of event helps ignite that sense of family between the riders, clubs and professionally, he continued.
All the clubs also do their own poker runs and his chapter supports the St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Carver said.
The local poker run continues to have success. Granath said last year they were able to raise $10,000 for local veterans. He was hoping to be able to do the same and by the end of the day, it may have happened between registration for the poker run and purchasing tickets for the raffle. The contribution will be in excess of that $10,000 but he wasn’t sure of the final numbers yet, he added.
This year’s poker run was it’s fifth. It’s already raised more than $42,000 to support local veterans, Granath said. The club typically donates funds to The River Fund, Inc., which has a dedicated account to serve veterans in the Tri-state.
Granath was sure to show plenty of gratitude toward the event’s sponsors. Having created good relationships with sponsors has meant the motorcycle club hasn’t had to endure out of pocket expenses, for which he’s grateful for, he said.
Sponsors helped by either being locations along the poker run route or adding to the raffle or other prizes at the end of the day or helped out with various other duties to help make the even run smooth. Granath was grateful to the following: The River Dog Grill, Lazy Harry’s Bar and Grill, Hooch’s 95 Bar and Grill, Topock 66, Uncle Bo’s Slow-N-Low BBQ, The Red Dog Saloon in Needles, Old Town Saloon in Laughlin, Roadhouse 95 Grill, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, The River Fund, Inc.; Tropicana Laughlin Hotel, TV2 News- Bruce Clark, the Men of Fire Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12; Boat Bar, Royalty Homes LLC., International Association of Fire Fighters 3647 and 4324; VASS Landscaping, Bullhead Auto and Marine Superstore, Bikini Bay Bar and Nightclub, Steve Soffa Hardcore Watches, Mohave Steakhouse, Cathie’z Leather, Eagle Motorcycle Rentals, Home Depot, Lowe’s, River Rat Motorsports, Firehouse Coffee Shop, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Flawless Window Tinting, Las Vegas Harley-Davidson, Thunder Rode Motorcycle Accessories, Cycle Gear Hesperia, Buffalo Wild Wings, New Life Games, LLC., Chili’s, Desert Fabworks, LLC.-Brian Wensel, U.S. Military Vets MC, Moose Lodge Riders 1860, Black Bridge Brewery Kingman, Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall, Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino, Avi Resort and Casino, Desert Thunder Indian Motorcycles Kingman, Black Bear Diner, One Bad Bitch Clothing, Bullhead City Fire Department, LA Fire Hogs and last but not least the Tri-State Military Moms who helped with registration.
Then there was the run itself. The first place winner in the event was Rex Hall, of the Men of Fire Chapter 2 with four 9s for $500. Second place winner was Greg Fountain with a full house and he won $300. Michelle Fountain won for worst hand with 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 for $200. Southern California Harley-Davidson Dealers Association contributed for the second place and worst hand winner prizes.
Granath said well placed advertisements and simply word of mouth has significantly helped the poker run with getting more and more participants.