Joker’s Wild

Realities Riders Rally in Old Town Fort Collins for Abused Children

The 2008 Realities Ride & Poker Run brought together thousands of bikers riding against child abuse this past Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday, May 25th. This was the 7th Annual Joker’s Wild Realities Ride, sponsored by Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson. This year’s event brought biking enthusiasts from as far as the Big Apple to help raise over $45,000 to benefit Realities For Children programs and the Realities For Children Emergency Fund, serving the unmet needs of abused and neglected children in Northern Colorado. This is a vital fund as Colorado ranks as high as third in the nation for child abuse deaths and continues to grow exponentially in child abuse reports, surpassing the national average of reports per capita. As a result, children in the “system” often go without needed services when governmental resources are either exhausted or simply 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. Allison Hade with Alternatives to Violence agrees stating, “The Realities For Children Emergency Fund has been one of the greatest resources for Alternatives to Violence clients. This funding has assisted a great number of our clients, and it is easily accessible in a crisis or emergency situation. No emergency fund has made itself more available and reliable for this purpose than has the Realities For Children Emergency Fund.”

Realities Riders of varying backgrounds, clubs and regions united to help these children, who need it most and took a stand (or a ride) to make a difference. On a beautiful Memorial Day weekend thousands of Realities Riders enjoyed a 100 mile tour of Northern Colorado.

The day began with registration and a hot Qdoba Mexican Grill breakfast at Thunder Mountain in Loveland. Bikers started the morning off with the presentation of the colors from the Explorer Honor Guard of the Larimer County Sheriff’s office, listened to a stirring rendition of the Jimi Hendrix version of our National Anthem and a short presentation by Diggs Brown, a decorated veteran and a Fort Collins City Council member, honoring our nation’s service men and women.

After a moment of observed silence, engines roared and the games began. The first 500 pre-registered riders received the highly sought after Realities Ride shirts, every rider was entered into the drawing for the $2,000 Linen & Styles Custom Paint and Design paint job and set off to win the Hilton $1,000 cash Best Poker Hand prize. With the ride growing larger than ever, the Realities Riders were split into two groups, each heading in opposite directions with stops at TBar Inn and Beauregard’s Grill & Tavern in Wellington, Sol’s Long Branch and the Swing Station in Laporte, Windjammer Road House at Carter Lake and Daisy Dukes in Loveland. With live music at every stop and great camaraderie throughout the day, bikers rocked out and quenched their thirst at the ride stops before kicking into high gear at the After Ride Celebration in Old Town Square Fort Collins.

The roar of the bikes filling downtown’s ‘bike parking only’ streets, drew attention from miles around as everyone came together, as a community, for a good time and a great cause! Growing to more than 3,000 attendees in Old Town Square, Realities Riders displayed their heart for children and showed Fort Collins what an After Ride Celebration ‘Biker Style’ is all about. Sponsored by Budweiser Chelada and featuring the Quick Throttle Ride-In Bike Show, Thunder Roads Hot Rod and Vintage Bike Show, Colorado Colorfest Tattoo Competition, Joker’s Wild Beer Garden, musical entertainment by i69 and Something Underground and much more, this is one group that could not be silenced.

Keeping up to speed with a great day, after the dust settled from Comcast Karaoke, all the giveaway drawings, live radio remotes and guest stage presentations by Doc from Clear Channel and Charley Barnes with Regent Communications, the places were announced for bike shows and tattoo contest winners. And then the moment of truth came when it was time to find out who would be the winner of this year’s Best Poker Hand cash prize of $1,000 and the trademark Realities Ride giveaway of the $2,000 custom paint job!

This year Hilton’s GM, Ned Sickle, presented two lucky winners with the cash prize, each winning the top card draw holding a straight flush to the Queen of hearts! Cori Marr and Dan Luebbers of Loveland each went home with $500 cash in their pocket, as they opted to take a sure thing and ‘split the pot’. Then it was time to draw for a once in a lifetime chance to win a free custom paint job, donated by Linen & Styles Custom Paint and Design! When the wheel stopped spinning, Lenard Gerstenserger came out on top and couldn’t wait to get the sheet metal off his bike to see what Josh, with Linen & Styles Custom Paint, could transform his 2007 Heritage into. We look forward to seeing Lenard proudly riding with his new look in next year’s Realities Ride.

If you missed the ride or forgot your camera, don’t worry. The 7th Annual Realities Ride photo gallery, with hundreds of pictures taken courtesy of Harper Point Photograph and Creative Exposures, can be viewed at www.RealitiesRide.com.

Help make certain the roar of bikes, that has become the voice for abused and neglected children, is even louder next year by riding in the 8th Annual Realities Ride, Sunday May 24th, 2009 – where every mile helps a child. It does not matter what you ride – what matters is, if you ride you – make it count!

Thank you to all the Realities Ride sponsors, Harley Owners Group ride leaders, hundreds of volunteers and the thousands of ride participants that made the 2008 Joker’s Wild Realities Ride a great success!

For more information about Realities For Children, event photos, or next year’s ride, you can visit www.RealitiesRide.com or call 970.484.9090.

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