The roar of engines pierced the morning Saturday as a fleet of cars and motorcycles set out on this year's Run for Vets Poker Run.
Organizers say the run, sponsored by the local Elks Lodge, gets bigger every year. Linda Adrian told KRCG 13 last year's run raised about $10,000 for the lodge's veterans' programs. She said 214 people signed up for a poker hand in this year's run with more taking part in the ride but not collecting any cards. Participants collect a playing card at each checkpoint to create a poker hand by the time they return to their starting location.
Kyle Mason, a Vietnam War veteran active with the lodge, said the route, which runs through Chamois, Hermann and Mokane, is a beautiful drive for motorcyclists as well as people driving their cars in the run. He said veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were taking part in Saturday's run in addition to veterans of past conflicts. Mason estimates between 300 and 500 motorcycles take part in each year's run.
Several participants said they enjoy getting to take part in a ride to support a good cause. Curt Stuckenschneider said he has taken part in "about 30 or 40" rides benefiting veterans. He said he was looking forward to nice sunshine and a good ride.
Kevin James said, "I like to support the community and do things that are of a lot of interest to people."
He said he enjoys the camaraderie among local bikers he finds at organized rides.