Bikers gather for cancer benefit

Thursday, September 12, 2002

One hundred nineteen motorbike riders took part in the Poker Run held Saturday to benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

The riders came from all across Northeast Arkansas to support the worthy cause. Riders came from Trumann, Paragould, Jonesboro, Blytheville, Leachville, Manila, Monette, Piggott, Harrisburg and Lake City.

Each rider paid a $10 entry fee. Sixty one commemorative tee shirts were also sold during the run.

Alesha and Scotty Rolland and Paige and Chuck Brown were organizers for the run, and participated in the ride as well. Riders ranged in ages 6 through 77.

"Thanks to the large turnout of bikers we were able to raise $1,167.50 for Relay for Life, after expenses were paid," Alesha Rolland said. "One group came from Knobb, Ark. The River Rats, a riding group from Paragould, donated $400 as a tribute to one of their riders who had cancer. The show of support was wonderful."

The Poker Run began at 8 a.m. at the corner of Highway 18 and Highway 119, near Leachville, which is commonly called Cotton Corner. The 132-mile ride was well planned and the route took them east to Blytheville, north to Hornersville, Mo., west to Paragould and Walcott, south to Jonesboro, and east back to Cotton Corner. A Brown's Auto Glass truck was provided at each stop along the way to hand out playing cards.

The bikers were given their first playing card and a map when signing in at Cotton Corner. Signs were set up throughout the ride with directions to the next stop. The first stop on the route was at the Shell Station on Highway 61, Blytheville, where the bikers were given a second card. The second card stop was at the Crowley's Ridge State Park at Walcott. At Jonesboro the bikers stopped at Jr. Food #9 on Highland Drive. The riders arrived back at Cotton Corner shortly after noon for their final stop.

Danny Brown of Piggott had the highest poker hand and was awarded $300, one quarter of the day's entry money. Brown gave the money back to the Relay for Life organizers as his contribution to the fight against cancer.

Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola provided chips and drinks for the event. Bruce Kious, owner of Kious Tent Rental, from Jonesboro provided and installed a large tent for registration and shade during the noon meal. Dr. Marty Harderson of Leachville made a monetary donation, as well as provided meeting space and bathroom facilities. Other sponsors for special biker drawings included, Road Mart of Manila, a $20 gas certificate; Corner Mart of Leachville, a $20 gas certificate; Hogland's Honda of Paragould, a $25 gift certificate; and Kawasaki of Blytheville, a $25 gift certificate.

"We are so thankful for all the people who gave their time, gifts, and sponsorship," Chuck Brown, said.

Local workers for the Relay for Life fundraiser included the four organizers, Sheila and Lee Spurlock, Janice Edgin, Estes Williams, Eddie Thomas, Jan Garrison, Bill Hetler, Brenda Matheny, Tommy John Edgin, Russell Eubanks and Betty Brock.

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