A decade of poker runs

A decade of poker runs

The 10th Annual Orbost Poker Run was a cracker of a day all round, with the weather gods smiling down on the 139 bikes as they rode about East Gippsland’s roads collecting poker cards and raising more than $30,000 for a great cause.

At 10am Saturday morning the bikes roared out of the Bairnsdale McDonalds’ car park headed in convoy to Lake Tyers Beach, Orbost, Marlo, Bemm River and back to Orbost where a top night of entertainment was enjoyed at the Club Hotel with live music from Split Whiska, charity auction and more. The 139 bikes, slightly up on last year, were joined by others in cars with registrations totalling 157.

“It was a cracker of a day. A really good turn out,” organising committee president, Kevin Goudge, said.

“The weather was great and judging by the crowd and the feedback everyone had a great time.”

The Orbost Poker Run was established in 2010 to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Monash when Orbost’s Hibberson family wanted to give back after having used the facility during their daughter Gracie’s illness.

Gracie’s mum and dad, Kim and Dave, have been on the organising committee since its inception, but after 10 years they will be leaving Orbost for Bendoc, meaning a complete turnover of the committee across the decade.

“They might be off the committee next year, but they’ll be back for sure. I think they’ve already booked their motel room for next year,” Kevin said.

Before    Saturday’s poker run organisers were fairly certain they’d crack the quarter of a million over the 10 years. It was, however, even better.

“The charity auction alone raised $7265 and the overall tally for the day exceeded $30,000, which takes our tally over the 10 years of the poker run to $274,000,” Kevin said.

“We couldn’t have done that without our terrific sponsors, supporters and punters.”

The poker run receives great support from the Club Hotel, the Waterwheel Tavern at Lake Tyers Beach and the Bemm River Hotel. Split Whiska has provided the entertainment for a number of years, volunteers cook the barbecue at Marlo and the local police and highway patrol keep the traffic controlled.

“It’s amazing how such a small community like Orbost can consistently raise good money every year,” Kevin said.

“We have riders coming from all over, as far as Queensland, and Mick Colling, who used to have the Club Hotel when the poker run first started, comes down from Bathurst with a few friends each year. It’s becoming quite well known out there and people come back again and again.

“We were up against the superbikes at Phillip Island on the weekend, and I know we lost a few to that this year, so considering that was on, we did very, very well.”

IMAGE: Steve Archer, Michael Read, Tim Joiner, Matt Tunne, Colin Miles and Mia Joiner get set for the 139 bikes to set off from Bairnsdale last Saturday morning, bound for Orbost via Lake Tyers Beach, Marlo and Bemm River for the 10th Annual Orbost Poker Run. K188-55