More than 100 motorcyclists rode into Gardner, Kansas on May 14 for the 2nd Annual Gardner Lions Poker run that helps the club purchase eye glasses for youngsters whose families might not be able to afford them.
Organizers, that included members of the newly formed Gardner Lions Pride Riders Motorcycle Club, which was officially chartered during a dinner May 21 in Gardner, were hoping to get 100 motorcycles participating in the event.
“We ended up with 113 motorcycles,” said Gil Dishman, president of the Pride Riders. "It was a great day, a great run that came out good, and it all was enjoyable. Everyone was safe, nobody got hurt and everybody stayed organized.” More than $1,500, before expenses and prize monies, was raised during the event for the Gardner Lions.
The run started at the Tumbleweed Saloon in Gardner, and made stops at Hurricane Sherri’s in Wellsville, Wally’s Café in De Soto, Mulligan’s in Olathe, Curly Brown’s in Spring Hill, and ended at Wally’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill in Gardner.
“We ended up with 159 poker hands,” said Wally Borth, owner of Wally’s in Gardner and De Soto. “We had a lot of support from a lot of sponsors to make this a success.”
Steve Kolbeck, Gardner, and his daughter, Colleen, 15, rode in the event for the first time.
“I’ve done several of these that have left from the Tumbleweed and Wally’s, but this is the first time I’ve done this one (for the Gardner Lions),” Steve said. “I try to support local runs when I can, and I thought this would be a good one.”
Kolbeck rides a 1999 Harley-Davidson Road King. He’s been riding since he was 6, which has covered 40 years. They have lived in Gardner since 1988. He said his wife Marta, and their daughters Maggie, 17, and Colleen take turns riding with him.
“Colleen has a friend at school who rides, and Colleen likes a Buell that she saw at a show,” Steve said. “But she just got a car, so it might be awhile before she gets a motorcycle.”
Colleen said she would like to ride a motorcycle to see if she enjoys it. “I would like to try,” she said. “I think it would be fun.”
Charles Meeks, Gardner, rides a 1998 Buell, and registered for the Gardner Lions Poker run for the first time. He also joined the Gardner Lions Pride Riders Motorcycle Club.
“There’s a friend in the club who wanted me to join,” Meeks said. “I guess you could call it peer pressure. “I heard the Lions do a lot of charity stuff, and I think that’s a good thing.” Meeks has lived in Gardner five years.
At the charter dinner for the Pride Riders, more than 150 members of Lions Clubs across the state of Kansas attended to officially welcome the motorcycle club into Lions International.
It was a pot luck dinner, biker style, with barbecue, beer, pork, baked beans, potato salad, and plenty of desserts. Drinks, however, consisted of tea and water.
The Pride Riders are only the third motorcycle club in the country sanctioned by Lions International. The other two are in North Dakota.
But with more than 30 members after just four meetings, the Gardner Lions Pride Riders already are the second largest Lions motorcycle club in the country.
Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz