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Bikers play hand of poker for a good cause
Chuck "Preacher" Mull straps on his helmet Saturday afternoon as he prepares to take part in the Third Annual Poker Run, sponsored by the Association of Recovering Motorcyclists. Rain put a damper on the number of bikers taking part in the event, which also included an cookout and dance for participants. Donations will be taken through April 15. Proceeds from the event go to the Family Relations Program.

The Association of Recovering Motorcyclists rode through North Georgia on Saturday for a poker run, but the big prize was giving back.

It was the Third Annual Poker Run sponsored by the group’s local chapter to benefit child victims of sexual abuse in the area.

The poker run began and ended outside the First Baptist Church on Green Street. At each checkpoint on the 70-mile ride, participants purchased a playing card for $10 each. The five checkpoints included the church parking lot and designated locations in Dawson County, Dahlonega and Helen.

The biker with the winning poker hand at the end of the run received half of the earnings, with the rest of the money going to
Family Relations Program Inc. in Gainesville. The bikers returned to the church at about 6 p.m. to have a cookout, a meeting and a dance.

The fundraiser was started after members of the group became aware of the counseling services offered by Family Relations Program Inc.

"Bikers are really against child abuse, especially sexual abuse," said Jeff "Bear" Martin, president of the local chapter.

Martin has been a member of the group for 10 years and has been a part of the poker run since it began.

"Everyone that rides with us is recovering, we just want to give back ... and also make people aware," Martin said.

The members of the Association of Recovering Motorcyclists also were jointed Saturday by members of the Christian Motorcycle Association.

Others joined the poker run by driving their cars instead of riding a bike.

There were about 15 bikers ready to go at 1 p.m., but Martin said he had been hoping for about 40.

Last year, the poker run has raised some $750. Martin said this year’s goal is $2,000.

Donations for the fundraiser which will go to Family Relations Program Inc., will be accepted until April 15. Those who wish to make a donation can call Martin at 770-530-7044.

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