After spending all day and most of Friday night putting on the Camp Wheeze Away Bike Show at Lightning Strikes, we got up early Saturday morning and headed over to Bessie’s Cycle Barn in Irondale, Alabama for part two of our Camp Wheeze Away fundraiser weekend. Bessie’s was selected as the registration and first draw location for the Camp Wheeze Away Poker Run.
Jeff and Sherri got there about the same time, and shortly thereafter Whitney and her family showed up. They were going to man some of the stops. Before we got set up good people had already started rolling in. The weather was beautiful, albeit a little hot. But it would get hotter still before the day was out.
After everyone had registered and made their first draw, we asked our friend from the CMA, Richard Seiler, if he would mind blessing the ride before everyone left, which he was more than glad to do for us. He asked for everyone to be put in a protection bubble for the ride. AWE! Then everyone was off for the 100-mile run.
Whitney and her crew set off for the second draw at MTO Cycle in Branchville, while her dad left to go man the third draw at Smith Brothers of Oneonta and Sherri left for the forth draw at Thunder Inn on Hwy 11, where every night is bike night. She wanted to man the bar!
Leigh got to ride most of the run with them, but cut out early at the Thunder Inn stop, where everyone had decided that since they were at the watering hole, they might as well have a cold one – because by now, it was hot as hell! Back at Lightning Strikes where the ride would end, Marc and Augie had done all they could to help cool down the riders when they got in. They had several large fans with dry ice attached to them blowing all around, and a pipe attached to the back fence spraying a mist of water. And they had fired the grill up again with burgers, hot dogs, sausage, and chicken.
American Cycle was back with their Victorys, and Good Girlz – Bad Girlz had also joined us again, as well as Michael Swann who was already hard at work. He has got to be one of the best pin-stripers and airbrush artists around; everyone wants him to do something to their bike. Bessie’s had also brought a rack of Doo-Rags to set out.
Leigh and Whitney took care of the fifth and final draw, while I set out the rest of the door prizes, and put together all of the monies for the winners that Whitney had so diligently raised for us. After a few of them had gotten something to eat, they all voted to bring the awards inside where it was air-conditioned.
We started with the door prizes, and between Friday and Saturday we gave away two $25 gift certificates from Bessie’s Cycle Barn, two pairs of really nice riding gloves from ICON Powersports, two cool helmets from Cycle Gear on Edwards Lake Road, prints of dogs gambling, a playboy print, a half dozen chopper hats, several LED flashlights to pack on the bikes from Bills Custom Framing in Alabaster, a tether ball and crochet set from Lightning Strikes, two “Got Harley” T-shirts from Riders Harley-Davidson in Trussville, a rain-suit and a couple of T-thirts from Smith Brothers of Oneonta, a T-shirt and hat from MTO Cycle in Branchville, and of course, a couple of T-shirts and Koozies from Cycle Connections.
Tony Hill had the winning hand in the poker run, which netted him a $250 cash prize, which he promptly donated back to Camp Wheeze Away. How cool is that? Susan McLaughlin had the next best hand and took home $100 and the worst hand that several people had laid claim to at the beginning of the run, (but like we told them, only one person could ultimately have), was Brad Tolbert who won $25. The winner of our 50/50 draw and $67 was Bill Hyde from Lightning Strikes. He also turned around and donated that back to Camp Wheeze Away. What a generous group of folks that we have the pleasure of working with.
We no sooner got through with the awards and prizes when it started to rain---AGAIN! People started to scramble to get their bikes out of the rain or just head on out before the heavy stuff arrived. And the rest of us were left to scramble and get everything else in out of the rain. The Band,” Po-Monkey” didn’t even finish setting up when they had to break it all back down.
Everyone had a blast anyway, both days, in spite of the weather. Lightning Strikes had another poker run come through on Sunday giving them a whole weekend of motorcycle fun. At the end of the weekend we had raised close to $2000 for Camp Wheeze Away, so I would say it was a relatively successful event.
On behalf of the kids who may now be able to attend camp, we wish to send out a special thanks to Whitney Weldon and her family, the American Lung Association of Alabama, Bill and Fuzzy for all of their help, all of the locations for our stops, for being a draw spot as well as donating some really nice stuff for door prizes, Bills Custom Framing, Cycle Gear, ICON, Michael Swann, Marta Wenzel, American Cycle Center, Bessie’s Cycle Barn, as well as all of our generous cash donators who made it possible to have such nice cash awards for our winners, Authur Payne, Scott Beason, McKenna Motors, Beau Mosley Wholesale, & Environmental Pest Management. Also to J. W Wade State Farm insurance in Trussville. And last but not least, to all of you who came out and participated. With out all of you guys this would not have been possible, Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough, but we do, thank you so very much!
Let’s do this again next year!
Write-On and Ride-On
Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly - Birmingham, Alabama
A special thanks to Steve Campbell for submitting some of his great photos!