By DON McINTOSH
Splitting the air like thunder, bikes poured out of the union parking lot. It was Saturday, Aug. 20, the 16th annual Chuck Drake Memorial Guide Dog Dash motorcycle poker run, hosted by Machinists Lodge 63. The ride is a fundraiser to support Guide Dogs of America, which was founded in 1948 by the International Association of Machinists to provide guide dogs free of charge to the blind. Locals around the country hold friendly competitions to raise money.
The motorcycle poker run is open to all, not just Machinists. Participants contribute $40-45 per rider, $15-20 per passenger, and meet at the Machinists Lodge W24 hall in Gladstone. They set out together at 8 a.m. on a loop through rural Clackamas County, with stops at the Old Mill Saloon in Estacada, Horseshoe Bar & Grill in Mulino, Backstop Bar & Grill in Canby, and Kissin’ Kate’s Saloon in Beavercreek. At each stop they collect a playing card, then return to the union hall, where the highest and lowest hand (by poker rules) wins cash prizes, and everyone digs into barbecue that’s been cooking since they set out. The ride is named for its late founder, Boeing machinist Chuck Drake.
The poker run was followed by a golf tournament the next day at Glendoveer Golf Course in Northeast Portland. All told, the District W24 events raise about $10,000 a year for Guide Dogs.