Annual Memorial Poker Run event set for July 15
GREATER AKRON — The Cliffside Key Club will present its annual Memorial Poker Run July 15 at several Akron area locations.
Volunteer Tina Boykin said the event is not a competitive race, but “just an absolutely leisurely fun day to raise money.”
For the Memorial Poker Run, a group of bicycles and motor vehicles will travel to different spots of significance throughout the area.
“We will have five stops mapped out for them, and they will go to them in order,” Boykin explained. “At each of the five stops, the vehicle will pick up a playing card. Whoever has the best poker hand at the end of the run between all of the participants wins the grand prize, which we will announce on the day of the event.”
The cost to take place in the poker run is $10 per bike or vehicle.
“It starts and ends at the Cliffside Key Club, near the intersection of [South] Main [Street] and Waterloo [Road],” Boykin explained. “Some of the stops will be the [Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery], the Green Veterans Memorial Park and the Ohio Veterans’ [Memorial] Park.”
Registration for the rain-or-shine event will begin at Cliffside Key Club, located at 2118 S. Main St. in Akron, at 10 a.m. The first vehicle will head out at 11 a.m., with the last vehicle leaving at 1 p.m. The last vehicle is expected back at Cliffside Key Club at approximately 4 p.m.
“We are expecting between 400 and 500 vehicles,” Boykin said.
In addition to the run, a number of other activities are planned for the day.
“We have a couple of bands playing, there will be a dinner, a baked goods sale and raffles,” Boykin said.
The barbecue dinner will not be included with the $10 cost. A price for the meal had not been established at presstime. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase during the event.
In addition to being a fun event, Boykin stated, the Memorial Poker Run also is “a very emotional time.”
“Everyone knows a veteran,” she said. “We are honoring those still with us and remembering those who have passed.”
According to Boykin, the Memorial Poker Run is currently in its sixth year, and there are several key goals for the annual event.
“We want to honor our veterans, and we would like to bring more awareness about the JROTC [Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps] program,” she said. “The memorial run was set up to benefit the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park in Clinton. This year, it benefits the Green High School Air Force JROTC OH-20062 program run by Chief Master Sgt. William Karasko and Capt. David Welhouse.”
Boykin said money raised during the Memorial Poker Run will support the program “by helping to pay for various uniform items, activities and two camps offered during the summer.”
“JROTC is not just about preparing kids for the military. In fact, most of the cadets do not enter the military,” she said. “JROTC teaches self-discipline, self-respect and independence, while at the same time learning to depend on your team.”
Boykin said she considers it an honor to be involved with the Memorial Poker Run.
“My part of the run has been very small, but it is a complete honor to be a part of such a great event,” she said. “I became involved with the run as a volunteer because my son, Robert, is a cadet in the corps. He lives and breaths the corps — most of the cadets do. The cadets make friends that are lifelong, both with other cadets and with current military personnel and veterans.”
For inquiries, sponsor opportunities or donations for the Memorial Poker Run, call Michele Scupholm at 330-780-1483 or Nancy Thornton at 330-322-1360.
“JROTC cadets will be at each stop to help the participants, but most importantly to talk to them,” Boykin said. “Our cadets love to interact with people and especially our veterans.”
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