On Saturday, May 19, 2007, Lightning Strikes and Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine were host to a poker run benefiting Shawna Buchanan, with the help of her dad, Steve Cox, and Patty. Shawna was injured in a car accident that occurred on November 11, 2006.
I got to Lightning Strikes in Trussville around 10 a.m. that morning to help Patty and her girls that she had lined up to help with the ride, get everything set up and start registering people. Along with having people in place for her stops, Patty had spent several months collecting goodies for door prizes and cash donations to be used to award the best hand and the worst hand. I broke out the Cycle Connections poker run cards for everyone to record their draws on, as well as putting a Cycle Connections T-shirt and koozies into the door prize “kitty.”
It was a beautiful morning for riding as everyone started to gather and get signed in. Everyone had plenty of time to grab something to drink or eat before we left, and Patty brought several coolers packed with cold soft drinks and water so all of the stops would have drinks to offer the riders as they got there.
We had our “Fuzzy” buddy making the ride with us, so when Leigh got there we put him and Fuzzy at the front of the line with Steve, since most of our riders were poker run virgins. Leigh was, after all, the one who mapped out our ride, so he knew better than anyone the route we would be traveling.
With all of the draw locations being manned, that freed me to be able to ride with Leigh on this poker run. Usually one of us, if not both, is working part of the poker runs and rarely gets to ride.
So off we went to our first stop, which was Buffalo Wild Wings in Trussville. We made our way around Buffalo Wild Wings and parked in the back. I think the next time we plan a ride to gather there, we will bring the ride to the front of all the stores and park in front of Buffalo Wild Wings. The manager, Sean O'Brien, welcomed us all with open arms, and he agreed that we should park out front next time.
We gave people plenty of time to cool off, and with that time some chose to order something to eat. A lot of us had never been in there before, but I would imagine that there would be several who will be making the trip back in the future. Thanks for the hospitality, Sean.
Before we left Buffalo Wild Wings, our buddy Billy, showed up out front on his bike. He said he didn't know about the ride but saw us on the road. We convinced him that he needed to make the rest of the ride with us because he helps make a poker run exciting, and you never know what to expect from him.
As we set out for our second stop, which was MTO cycles, Billy started bustin’ lights for us. Not that it was needed, but we all got a kick out of it anyway. Pretty soon Fuzzy joined in, so now we had both of them racing past us to get to the next light or stop sign.
So then we were off to draw our fourth card at Bessie’s Cycle Barn in Irondale. We took back roads through the country, so it was a nice peaceful ride, but by the time we got to Bessie's Cycle Barn, it wasn't the bikes; it was the people who were getting overheated as the afternoon was starting to cook.
Our last stop was back at Lightning Strikes for the fifth and final draw in the poker hand. Also, back at Lightning Strikes, there were cold drinks and more importantly, cold beer.
It was decided that we would give out the door prizes and do the 50-50 drawing to give Leigh a chance to go over everybody's poker hands to determine who had the winning hand and who had the worst hand. It was kindhearted Fuzzy who won the 50-50 draw and turned around and donated his winnings right back to the benefit. If I'm not mistaken, the person with the winning hand also made a donation back to the benefit. We laminated the cards that the winning hand and the worst hand had recorded their draws on, so they had another little souvenir to take away from the ride.
Everyone had a lot of fun on this ride, especially the ones who had never done a poker run before. They also got a big kick out of our light busters.
I didn't ask, but I hope that they raised a lot of money to help with Shawna's medical bills, and we wish her continued success with her recovery. I hope that she knows that she has a lot of people who care deeply for her who will be there to help support her through her recovery.
Leigh and I would like to take this time, on behalf of Cycle Connections, Steve, Patty and Shawna, to thank each of you who made the ride with us. And thank you for your generous donations. We would also like to thank Buffalo Wild Wings, MTO Cycles, Bessie's Cycle Barn, and of course, Lightning Strikes for helping to host this event.
Write-On and Ride-On
Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly - Birmingham, Alabama