The 2007 Joker’s Wild Realities Ride & Poker brought bikers together to give abused and neglected children a voice that roared on Sunday, May 27th. Raising over $41,000 in emergency funding, bikers from all over state and as far as Alaska came together to ride against childhood abuse. Donations from this event benefited the Realities For Children Emergency Fund, serving the unmet needs of abused and neglected children in Larimer County when all other resources have been exhausted. Ranking third in the nation for child abuse deaths, Colorado continues to grow exponentially in child abuse reports, while surpassing the national average. Often, children in the “system,” go without needed services when governmental resources are either exhausted or unavailable. The Realities For Children Emergency Fund creates a safety net of services so that the most vulnerable members of our community are provided for. Pam Swerer with the Larimer County Department of Human Services states, “The Emergency Fund is one of the most phenomenal opportunities and most creative that I have ever heard of. It has made such a difference in my career with Human Services, because you have set the pace for humanity and respect for all children.”
With an attendance of over 2,000 bikers and of one of the state’s largest charity poker runs, this group came together to give these children the voice that had been taken from them. And when it comes to being heard, the roar of thousands of bikes is undeniable. The Realities Riders rocked out the entire day with live bands and great giveaways distributed by the Yukon Girls at every ride stop. With the premier of the first ever Realities Texas Hold’ Em, there were no card draw lines throughout the day! The ride began with registration with free ride shirts given to the first 500 pre-registered riders, a hot Bayou Steak House breakfast, entry for the chance to win the $2,000 Marshall Canafax Custom Paint Job, and everyone rode off with the hopes of winning the $1,000 Hilton Best Poker Hand prize! After riding through the television news crews of Channel 2, Channel 9 and Comcast, it was now time to hit the pavement and head to City Limits Lounge in Fort Collins, where bikers saw the first card unveiled and staged in parade formation to overtake the heart of Old Town Fort Collins, as Sheriff’s officers, Fort Collins Police and Traffic departments shut down nearly a dozen intersections on the way to Sol’s Long Branch and the Swing Station in LaPorte. Louder than the rumbling of bikes, was the grumbling of hungry stomachs. Qdoba Mexican Grill put hunger to rest by serving scrumptious burritos and donating all proceeds to the Emergency Fund. With full bellies, it was off to the stunning route to the Windjammer Road House at Carter Lake and the Outlaw Saloon in Lyons. Finally, this 112 mile scenic tour of the Front Range concluded with the After Ride Celebration at Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson in Loveland.
Celebrating at the After Ride party, 2,500 people of all walks of life enjoyed coming together for abused and neglected youth. The After Ride Celebration was emceed by Charlie Barns of 94.3 MAX FM and Jefferson Chase of 107.9 The Bear. Attendees jammed out to live music provided by Rodney James and the Blue Flames and Wide Open, while the Hooters girls help quench the thirst of parched bikers at the Joker’s Wild Beer Garden and served a fantastic complimentary dinner to all Realities Riders! The crowd cheered and voted for the best bikes at the always popular Quick Throttle Ride-In Bike Show, and the bidding became fierce at the silent auction table of great items donated by many community businesses and individuals.
Seeing so many people from all walks of life and backgrounds come together to benefit and become the voice for children in need, truly shows the heart of our biking community and their ability to make a difference. Knowing that there are so many that believe in these youth by standing up and giving them a voice, helps to provide strength and real hope to children the world may other wise forget. And if hope can be given, there is a greater chance these children will find new life and triumph over their adversity. It is no coincidence that the mythical creature, the Phoenix, represents the Realities Ride. The rebirth of this beast, rising from the ashes of its former life, symbolizes the opportunity for new life for these children, proving the life changing power of people coming together for those that need it most.
The surprise of the day came when two lucky ladies showed a pair of pocket kings, creating a tie for the Best Poker Hand of a Full House of Kings over eights. In a battle of deal or no deal, with the opportunity for a high card cut ‘winner take all’, each winner opted for the sure thing and split the winnings. The $1,000 Best Poker Hand prize was sponsored and presented by the Fort Collins Hilton. Although thousands of dollars in giveaways donated by Realities For Children Members, partners and supporters were distributed throughout the afternoon, the most sought-after prize of the day is always the $2,000 Custom Paint Job provided by the artist himself, Marshall Canafax. A hush fell over the crowd as every rider hoped to hear their name drawn. And then, lightening struck twice! In odds that had to be ten million to one, Julie Ketcher, one of the winners of the Hilton Best Poker Hand, also won the drawing for the $2,000 Marshall Canafax custom paint job! Marshall renewed his vow to give away a paint job every year at the Realities Ride and challenged everyone to bring friend next year and double the ride one more time.
Another Realities Ride favorite of the day was the Quick Throttle Ride-In Bike Show. The Best Paint Job was a 911 tribute painted V-Rod, winner of the 2006 People’s Choice Award at the Realities Ride last year. Seth Vanderwright took home the award for the best custom bike and Mike Kersey received accolades for the best vintage bike. And the Quick Throttle People’s Choice Award, is always the most sought after and as always is determined as attendees cast their vote for their favorite bike by making a donation to the Realities For Children Emergency Fund. The 2007 people’s choice was the bike of Jill Bererra. With a Realities Ride Trophy, and a new leather jacket, Jill is sure to be the envy of all her biker buddies. This year’s Ride-In Bike Show raised $300 for the fund, and you can be certain the Quick Throttle Ride-In Bike Show will continue promoting cutthroat competition with for a charitable cause at Realities Rides in the future!
If you missed the ride or forgot your camera, don’t worry. The 6th Annual Joker’s Realities Ride is all on tape. Featuring forty minutes of raw footage from every ride stop, highlights from the ride, a photo gallery with hundreds of pictures and so much more, see what everyone is talking about. Visit www.RealitiesRide.com or call Realities For Children at 970.484.9090 for more information.
Help make certain the roar of bikers and the voice for abused and neglected children is even louder next year by participating in the 7th Annual Joker’s Wild Realities Ride, where every mile helps a child. See you next year on Sunday, May 25, 2008!