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Bikers vs. Cancer poker run set for Aug. 11

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AKWESASNE - The Bikers vs. Cancer poker run and bike show is coming back for its third year of raising money for local cancer support groups.

“It’s a unique opportunity a worthy cause for our area,” said event organizer Ms. Janique Odjick.

Odjick said the money raised will go to benefit local cancer organizations, such as the Akwesasne Cancer Support Group, Tina’s Pride, and Norm Thibodeau.

Mr. Thibodeau is a Malone man who raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Ms. Odjick said some of the money will benefit the Hope Lodge in Burlington, Vt. She said although it is not based locally, many area residents stay there when they or their loved ones travel for cancer treatment.

The 80-mile, three-hour ride will be held Aug. 11 and begin at the Brass Horse Grill in Akwesasne at 10 a.m. The cost is $20 to come along for the ride, passengers are free, and $5 to buy into the poker run. The top three hands from the poker run will split a $1,000 pot three ways, $500, $300, and $200.

For those unfamiliar with how a poker run works, riders are given five playing cards throughout the run. The first is given at the beginning. The next three are given at stops along the route and the final is given when the riders return to where they started. The rider with the best poker hand wins.

The route will go from the Brass Horse down back roads, through Winthrop, Norwood, Massena, and back to Akwesasne. Participants will spend about 20 minutes at each stop.

Along with the poker run, there will be festivities all day at the Brass Horse.

Ms. Odjick said there will be a bike show with prizes awarded for various categories, such as best paint job and best overall bike in various classes, including (but not limited to) three-wheelers, baggers and sportsters. There will also be chicken-eating, tattoo, and burnout contests, according to Odjick. Additionally, the event will have music, bounce houses for kids, and traditional Native American dancers.

“It’s really a fun-filled day. It’s all about creating awareness of cancer and also raising awareness in the community,” Odjick said.

She said the event was created three years ago when she and several others learned that a friend of theirs, Charlene Cole of Akwesasne, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. They raised $3,600 in their first year and $5,000 last year.

“She [Charlene Cole] is still battling cancer,” Ms. Odjick said. “It made us realize: If you stand with a group of people and talk to them, there’s not one person who hasn’t been touched by cancer, whether it’s a family member or friend who has battled or lost their fight with this terrible illness.”

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