Approximately 100 bikers took part in the second annual Big Hearts Charity Poker Run held across central Alberta on July 18. Game On owner and co-organizer Sandra Von Hollen said the event went well.

Bikers ride held to raise big bucks

For the second annual year Rimbey’s Game On Outdoors opened its own heart to the to the Big Hearts Charity Poker Run.

For the second annual year Rimbey’s Game On Outdoors opened its own heart to the to the Big Hearts Charity Poker Run, held across central Alberta on July 18.

“One of the Big Heart guys is one of our really good customers and asked if we would be part of it, and we were thrilled,” said Game On owner and co-organizer Sandra Von Hollen.

She estimated approximately 100 bikers took part in the rally this year, lining portions of Main Street with an array of colourful machines. “It’s an awesome day for them.”

Silent auction items are a big part of the fundraiser, where 100 per cent of the proceeds are gifted to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Neonatal Care Unit, and Game On had a custom knife specifically crafted for the Big Hearts silent auction.

“It’s a handmade knife made in Alberta. So it’s a true piece of art,” Von Hollen explained.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of this charity. It goes with what Game On believes in,” she added.

For the first in the history of the three-year poker rally it was covered and televised by the Dimestore Fishermen television program.

The program was invited into the operation by Von Hollen.

“Our outdoor television show is shining a light on this because it a really exciting thing to see; everyday Albertans getting together and joining forces to raise money for such an outstanding cause,” said host/producer/creator Jim Hoey.

The program shows on various Shaw channels; Wild TV; NTV and Newcap Television.

“It is the coolest thing ever. You’ve got something that stops people, makes them look,” said Hoey.

The bikers involved started the one-day rally at Cycle Works in Red Deer. They then traveled to Innisfail, Spruce View, Rimbey, Blackfalds and Evil Side Customs in Red Deer before returning to Cycle Works.

“It’s a fun day and we’re doing something great. I guess the way I look at it, it mixes what I like to do and what lot of people like to do — riding motorcycles — and doing something good,” said co-organizer and Big Hearts representative Matt Battauz.

The poker rally is open to all bikers who wish to get involved and even those who do not ride can participate. Donations can be brought to stop locations, silent auction bids and 50/50 tickets all help to boost that final number.

In the first year of the event it raised between $8,500 and $9,000. Last year approximately $12,000 was raised.