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Mon., Dec. 22
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Bikers gather for charity poker run

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POTSDAM — A pack of motorcyclists traveled from town to town across St. Lawrence County on Saturday. Every time they stopped, each rider was given a single playing card.

The game was on.

Twenty-three riders participated in the fourth annual poker run and charity motorcycle ride. Bikers could register for $20, and an extra $10 would let them pick up poker cards along the way for a chance to win prizes.

All proceeds went to benefit the American Cancer Society.

“Cancer affects everyone now. It’s nice to get everyone together for a good cause,” said Kelly A. Hennessey, the Walmart associate who has organized all four of the runs.

The event was alcohol-free, Hennessey said, to encourage more families to come out.

Wayne M. Ward, of Governeur, brought his daughter, Jackie M. Ward, 15, along for the trip.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “It was long.”

The ride began at 10 a.m. at the Potsdam Walmart on Route 11 and traveled through Malone, Massena and Ogdensburg before returning to the starting point at 3 p.m.

“It was a nice day out; it was fun,” said Olivia P. Mactin, of Waddington.

After the ride was over everyone compared results to see who had the best poker hand, with a $30 Walmart gift card for the winner.

The Wards won a $5 gift card for the dubious honor of having the worst hand, with a single queen (their next-highest card was a six).

Many members of Mr. Ward’s family are cancer survivors, including his sister.

“We try to participate in as many cancer events as we can,” he said.

Other riders had personal reasons for supporting the cause.

“It’s a way to give back to the American Cancer Society,” said Art R. Knauf, of Heuvelton. Mr. Knauf’s father is a cancer survivor.

For some, Saturday marked just one of many rides planned for the summer.

“We’ve been to a lot of them every year,” said Fred A. Wilson, of Malone. “It was a good ride.”

The riders returned to Potsdam for a chicken barbecue.

Summertime items like coolers, tents and motorcycle helmets were offered in a raffle to earn more money for the Cancer Society.

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