Unions for Kids poker run raises $50,000 for children’s hospital

A record 477 motorcycle riders registered to participate in the ninth annual Unions For Kids Poker Run and Chili Cook-off June 11.

All proceeds from the ride and raffle — a total of $50,000 — went to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Since its inception nine years ago, the event has raised more than $271,000.

“Overall, I think it was the best one ever,” said Lee Duncan, a member of Portland-based Electrical Workers Local 48, who helped found the event. “I think we’re dialed in on all aspects. We have a super bunch of volunteers, great support from a wide range of unions and businesses. Everybody’s gone above and beyond.”

A large chunk of the “Unions for Kids” proceeds comes from a drawing for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which was won by Portland business owner Brian Raburn (ticket 313 sold by Local 48 vice president Gary Young). Money also is raised through poker run registration fees, sponsor donations, a silent auction, and a chili cook-off. Duncan said items valued at more than $12,000 were donated for the raffle and silent auction. Among the silent auction items was a Hamer “Slammer” electric guitar signed by John Kay and Steppenwolf. Band drummer Ron Hurst rode in this year’s event. The guitar was purchased by Rob Williamson, who works at the IBEW and United Workers Federal Credit Union. The credit union is a major sponsor of the event. Other businesses that donate tickets, banners, and other items are Hollywood Impress Printing, Markon Signs, and Columbia Motorcycle Harley Davidson.

The poker run itself consists of riders going to check points, where they draw a playing card for a poker hand. At the end of the ride — in this event, a 90-mile course that took riders on country roads through Sandy and Carver — the highest and lowest hands win a cash prize. The high hand of five aces was held by Larry George, a member of IBEW Local 48. In the photo right, George’s co-rider Stefany Lawrence draws an ace of spades at the third stop at the Carver Hanger. Cheering her on are Willy Myers and Kelli Hollister. Myers is a union rep for Sheet Metal Workers Local 16.

The low hand of 1-2-3-4-5 was won by Bob Sundstrom, a member of Plumbers and Fitters Local 290.

Tony Kriss of Sheet Metal Workers Local 16 won the chili cookoff against five other contestants. In the photo far right, Tim and Jackie Copp sample an entry. Tim is a member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8.

A first for the poker run this year was co-rider Rocky, a golden retriever owned by Kenny Tallmon of ILWU Local 92. Rocky is pictured at right resting after the ride with Alice Sterpa, a member of the Oregon School Employees Association.

The National Guard Color Guard had to cancel its flag presentation due to a military funeral it had to attend. However, the national anthem was played by Kelsey Aronstein. She is the daughter of Bill Hoffmann, a retired organizer for the Laborers Union.

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