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Bikers deal womens shelter a winning hand
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Cynthia Tanner of Gainesville sells cupcakes in the rain Saturday as part of a fundraiser for My Sister’s Place at Clermont Park. The benefit included food, music, games and a motorcycle poker run, all raising money for the Gainesville women’s shelter. - photo by PEGGY ATTAWAY

Motorcyclists rode out in the mountains on a rainy Saturday collecting playing cards to help raise money to build a emergency shelter for women and children.

My Sister’s Place and Lanier Singles held its first Poker Run fundraiser Saturday at Clermont Park.

The event led participating motorcyclists to a series of destinations, where they drew a card at each stop. A volunteer wrote down the card they drew on the playing sheet they were given at registration. At the finish line, a $150 prize went to the best hand, a $75 prize to the worst.

Other activities at Clermont Park during the event included live music by The Mitchells and Tung & Groove, among others. There also were vendors and booths selling food and drinks, with some donating their proceeds to My Sister’s Place.

"The purpose is to raise money for My Sister’s Place," said Linda Crowe the community chairperson for the Lanier Singles. "We got a lot of volunteers here from the Lanier Singles group."

Lanier Singles is a social organization for singles ages 40 or older in North Georgia. They have worked before with My Sister’s Place.

Along with helping to organize the Poker Run, the Lanier Singles held a drawing offered 26 different prizes at the event, with all proceeds going to My Sister’s Place, Crowe said.

Lorraine Hester of the Lanier Singles Community Committee also helped put together the event.

Gordon and Carolyn Longmuir were among bikers with the Christian Motorcycle Association that took part.

"We just had a great ride through the mountains, downtown Helen, and the entrance to Brasstown Bald," Gordon Longmuir said. He said he enjoyed "having a chance to ride the twisty-turny highways" and driving on Richard Russell Scenic Highway.

The two are members of the Gainesville chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, the "Unchained Riders," for about a dozen years. "We do a lot of riding and benefit riding," Gordon Longmuir said.

"Our main reason for coming was My Sister’s Place," Carolyn Longmuir said.

The Longmuirs say they like the work the shelter does for women and children.

"I enjoyed seeing how many volunteers were here," Carolyn Longmuir said. "People who are here to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem."

My Sister’s Place offers a shelter to women and their children who find themselves in desperate situations and helps them get their life back on track. Money from the fundraiser will go toward building a larger house, Executive Director Sylvia Stoltzfus said.

Despite the rain, a good number of motorcyclists participated.

"The rain put a little damper on the day, but with all the donations and prizes we’re going to turn out all right," Crowe said.

"We still had these dedicated bikers who came out and supported us," Stoltzfus said. "It rained and the turnout was bad, but there was so much love here."

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