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Riding for a Reason: Annual poker run hits the road Sunday

By Staff | Dec 4, 2014

For the 18th straight year, a group of Lee Countians get together to offer a cross-county poker run for a wonderful cause, raising Christmas funds and toys for island children in need. What started as a small pack of scooters back in the late 1990s has turned into a serious, dedicated ride with hundreds of participants, and will once again hit the road Sunday, Dec. 7, as the Christmas Poker Run continues the tradition of “riding for a reason.”

Originally organized by local philanthropists Michael DeCarlo, Paula Towell and Lena Neroni, Sunday’s run will be extra special this year, taking place to honor the late Michael DeCarlo who passed away Sept. 1, in remembrance of all of the wonderful things he’s done for our local community throughout his many years on the island.

The fun run will kick off at Junkanoo, 3040 Estero Blvd., with sign-up at 10 a.m. and the first bike out at 11. Stops will include the Tiki Bar at San Carlos Park, followed by the Smilin’ Dog Saloon (Fort Myers), Ralph’s Place (Cape Coral), Valerie’s Lounge (Fort Myers Beach) and then back to Junkanoo for an after party full of more raffles, prizes, silent auctions, 50/50s, food, fun and more.

“This is all to benefit the Spirit of the Holidays Beach Kids Foundation. We are joining forces with the Beach Kids Foundation, run by Fran Meyers’ new charitable foundation, teaming up to get more local children a Christmas,” said Lena Neroni, lead coordinator of the run. “We also support the Lee County Sheriff’s Youth Activities League. In order for our poker-runners to stop at their location, each of the stops on our run makes a donation to the league. All of our stops have done this for us several times over the years, and we’re grateful for all of them.”

Each of the stops will be offering 50/50s, raffles, special food, drinks and lots of fun and games, whether it’s an egg race or water balloon toss, to shake it up while chasing after the best poker hand you can get.

The cost to participate is $20 per motorcycle/car/vehicle, $10 for additional riders, $10 for additional poker hands and $30 to ride in the coach (also feel free to bring your own coolers on the bus).

To make a donation to the foundation, or in the form of a gift for the raffles and silent auctions, or to reserve a space aboard the poker run bus, call Lena, 239-878-1565.