Bikers from around the region will gather Sunday to take a little road trip, play some poker and raise money for a good cause.
Starting at 8:30 a.m., motorcycles will gather at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1503 in Dale City to begin the second annual Landstuhl Hospital Care Project Charity Poker Ride.
“Bikers are big supporters of a lot of non-profit organizations and charities,” said Landstuhl Hospital Care Project founder and biker Karen Grimord. “Some bikers have tattoos, leather and the whole nine yards, but they have deep pockets too and love to help out.”
Sunday’s charity event, which also includes a variation of five-card stud poker, will bring bikers on a 117-mile journey through Manassas, Woodbridge and then into Stafford where they will finish at American Legion Post 290, according to Michael Lee, chairman of the poker ride.
In order to play the poker game, riders, who pay a $20 entry fee, get a spreadsheet that contains all card numbers and suits at the start of the event, Lee said, noting that entry-fees go to the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. Participants make five stops along the route to draw cards and those with the highest hand, and the lowest, win a cash prize at the end.
“Most motorcyclists like to come out and support these things,” Lee said, noting that they had about 100 participants last year and raised about $7,000. “They don’t need much of an excuse to get out and ride.”
Prizes are awarded at the end of the ride at the Stafford American Legion, Lee said. There will also be food, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes that have been donated by area businesses.
The Landstuhl project is a non-profit organization that purchases and supplies “comfort and relief” items for military personnel sick or injured in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, according to its Web site. Items are distributed to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, field hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq and to Veterans Affairs facilities in America.
“I’m a Vietnam vet,” Lee said, about why he got involved with the poker ride. “I know these kids are coming back seriously wounded and then oftentimes are just forgotten. They come out of Afghanistan or Iraq, show up at Landstuhl and have nothing – no toothbrushes, clean clothes, nothing. This project helps out with that.”
Grimord said they send a variety of supplies, but what is currently in demand is duffle bags, breakaway pants, pajama bottoms for men, fleece blankets and men’s travel size deodorant. The organization ships every week, Grimord said, adding that they will soon be getting, and then shipping, 1,400 pounds of blankets.
“I know these kids overseas need all the help they can get and that’s my motivation, and the motivation of the people involved,” Lee said. “I’m just happy people have fun and are raising money for a good cause.”
Grimord said the Landstuhl project also aims to help keep up troops’ spirits, letting soldiers know they have support back home. Grimord said that oftentimes the men and women feel they aren’t supported, and she hopes the donations and photos from fundraisers like the poker ride will show them otherwise.
“If the troops could only see the people that come out on this ride and see how much support they have,” Grimord said. “It is just a great event and shows many people do care.”
Want to go?
What: Landstuhl Hospital Care Project Charity Poker Ride
Where: VFW Post 1503 – 14631 Minnieville Road in Dale City
Time: Registration begins at 8:30 am.; the ride at 10 a.m.
Cost: $20 and an additional $5 to play two poker games.