With a name like Save the Sweater Kittens, I knew this wasn’t going to be your average poker run. I’m not exactly sure where the term, sweater kittens came from, however, I think I may have first heard it on the Johnny Dare Morning Show on 98.9 The Rock. Anyway, for those of you who aren’t up on your slang, sweater kittens is another name for breasts. Therefore, you can probably figure it out for yourself, that this was a benefit ride to raise money in the fight against breast cancer.
The run started at Worth Harley-Davidson North, where Team Freshly Squeezed (I told you this was a fun group) had their registration table setup. I spoke with team member Raelyn Whitney, who told me more about their organization and fundraising activities.
According to Raelyn, Team Freshly Squeezed is one of many teams raising money for the Breast Cancer 3-Day on June 17-19, 2005, in which thousands of women and men will unite in Swope Park and walk 60 miles through the diverse, picturesque trails and streets of the Kansas City area. It's a weekend of hope, as we honor lives lost, celebrate survivors, promote breast cancer research, and help bring breast cancer care to those who so desperately need it.
Net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to fund breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs, as well as the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, to provide an endowment for breast cancer initiatives.
While registering for the run, I ran into Pete Catalano, a friend and riding buddy, who I didn’t even know was going to be on the ride. After registering, I chatted for a bit with Ken Stone, General Manager at Worth Harley-Davidson North, then Pete and I headed to the first stop, which was at Hooters – North Kansas City. As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by three energetic members of Team Freshly Squeezed where we drew our first card and were talked into purchasing pink rubber wristbands to show our support for the fight against breast cancer. Although pink isn’t the most manly biker color in the world, we figured that for today, we would suck it up and show our support. Besides, I think the color really looked good on Pete and helped accent his black leather and seemed to bring out just a touch of his feminine side.
From there, we headed to Hooters – Olathe, where we drew our next card and were greeted by the most enthusiastic group of Hooters girls and management of the entire run. They were very supportive of the fundraising activity and the manager said if I wanted to pull my bike up on the sidewalk in front of the building, all the girls would pose on my bike for a photo. Now how could I pass that offer up! We had so much fun there we decided to stay for a drink, and also found out that they were interested in sponsoring a bike night. So watch our Bike Nights page closely, because from our experience, I can tell you that when this comes together, this is one bike night you definitely won’t want to miss!
Although we could have stayed there all day, we bid our farewell and headed to the next stop at Hooters – Kansas City. Several of the poker run participants must have been getting pretty hungry and thirsty by then, because when we pulled into the parking lot, it was hard to find a place to park among all the bikes. We met several riders who were taking advantage of the outdoor patio, including Danny Keeth of the Road King Riders and his crew, who took the time to mug for our camera.
From there, it was time to head to Johnny Dare’s in Westport for the final leg of the run. Bikes lined both sides of the street, and more and more kept pouring in. Although Johnny Dare’s Tuesday bike night is one of the hottest biker hangouts in Kansas City, I have never seen this many bikes parked out front.
The staff at Johnny Dare’s is always great, and the schoolgirl outfits is a great touch! Steve-O, Founder of Concept Consulting and Executive General Manager, told me they were looking to open another location on the east coast under the name American Chrome. As soon as they get that biker hotspot up and running, we’ll give you the squeal on it as well. I also chatted with Little Bill, and several other regulars, as Craig Glazier, Founder and Marketing Manager ran around conducting business with his cell phone permanently attached to his ear. He’s such a busy man, the staff at Johnny Dare’s needs to pitch in and get him a wireless headphone for Christmas!
The last bike was supposed to be in by 4 p.m. and shortly after, the poker run winners were announced and tons of raffle prizes were given away. The winner of the high hand went to Ron Williams, and low hand winner was Daniel Keeth. According to Raelyn, the event raised $2,180, which helped push them over their team fundraising goal of $44,200.
While writing this article, I checked their web site at www.The3Day.org, and at that time, Team Freshly Squeezed had raised a total of $55,018 and they weren't done yet! They have also exceeded their original team goal of recruiting six team members, and when I checked, they were currently at 35 members! Team Freshly Squeezed kicks butt, and is quickly closing in on first place for raising the most money!
A special thanks to Hooters, Johnny Dare’s, Worth Harley-Davidson North, and the Harley-Davidson Employee Riders Association (ERA) for helping make the Save the Sweater Kittens Poker Run a huge success!
Story and Photos by Mike Schweder