Over the weekend, tattoo-clad motorcyclists dressed in black leather boots, vests with chains — and plenty of pink attire.
That’s right, pink was the color of choice for the Port Charlotte Chapter of the American Legion Riders, who revved their engines in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the Bikers for a Healthy Rack poker run Sunday.
“A poker run is basically a scavenger hunt where competitors go to designated stops and receive a playing card,” explained Dave Wells, “At the end, everybody meets back up and the people with the best three poker hands win a portion of the proceeds.”
The American Legion Riders, one of four subsets of the legion in Port Charlotte, raised funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation by charging bikers a set amount to participate. All proceeds from the event, the festival that followed and a raffle went to the nonprofit.
“We liked the idea of scooters for hooters or bikers for a healthy rack,” Wells said of the name of the event. “We had nearly 80 people sign up to ride.”
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists. The organization contributes to the cause by marketing awareness, helping victims get quality health care, and funding research.
In the last 30 years, the foundation has invested more than $1.9 billion — the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to combat breast cancer in the world.
But according to the Chuck Weinberg, American Legion Post 110 commander, all the money raised during the event will be distributed locally in Charlotte and Lee counties.
“Most of the funding will got to clinics that offer free breast screening for patients,” said Weinberg.
Participants met at American Legion Post 110 in Port Charlotte and made five stops — including other local American Legion posts in Punta Gorda, Rotonda and North Port, and two biker bars, Tilly’s Tap in Punta Gorda and Rascals Looney Bin in Murdock — before returning to their starting point. At each designated stop, the bikers drew a card at random. The winner of the event had the best five-card poker hand at the end.
Poker runs have grown in popularity in recent years as a way of raising funds for good causes, with some well-organized runs attracting hundreds of entrants.
Organizers say they result in a “win-win” situation for both them and the participants, with large sums being raised and those attending having a memorable experience that keeps them coming back.
In addition, local businesses can benefit from a boost to trade, particularly helpful during quiet “out of season” periods.
“It’s a great way to raise money and benefit the community,” said Joyce Spivision, owner of Tilly’s Tap. “Bikers are very generous people. We are sponsoring another poker fun in a few months for a young Marine who was injured.”