Tickets on sale soon for Riders’ Poker Run

By Jennifer Woods -

Tickets will be on sale as of Friday, Jan. 10 for the annual public event, “Never Say No To Veterans Poker Run,” hosted by VFW Riders Post 3762.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 at the VFW Post 3762, 335 Veterans Way in Washington C.H. It is the fourth year the event has been held.

Sign-ups are set to begin at 10 a.m. with kickstands up at noon. Last bike in at 5 p.m. followed by food.

According to VFW Riders President Duke Hanscel, “We plan to feed at least 300-plus people every year when we do these. We’ve been pretty fortunate. We cook whole hogs—stuff like that.”

A live auction and 50/50 raffle are then scheduled for 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., the band IRONGATE will take the stage to provide entertainment.

Tickets are $35 and are limited—only 325 are being sold, one ticket per person. They will be available for purchase at Court House Customs, VFW Post 3762 and online through Eventbrite. The tickets include everything—dinner, the band, the after-party and entrance into a raffle for prizes.

The raffle has three prizes—first place receives a custom chopper, second place receives $300 and third place receives $100. Participants do not have to be present in order to win.

“We purchase a bike and then we completely disassemble it,” said Hanscel. “Then the VFW Riders get together and we just completely build a brand new motorcycle, then we raffle it off.”

The funds and parts they use to build the motorcycle, as well as put on the rest of the event, come from various sponsors.

“With us being a 501(c)(3) we don’t keep any money for ourselves, we never have,” said Hanscel. “Without our sponsors there is no way we could ever pull something like this off. Everybody, including the painter—those are normally $5,000 dollar paint jobs but they charge us $1,500. Court House Customs always donates at least $1,500 of their time and in parts. Without those people and Walmart, there is absolutely no way we could do this.”

He further explained that since it is from a charity, the new owner does not have to pay taxes on the motorcycle. They have a large community backing for the event and more sponsors can be found on their event flier, which is available on their Facebook page, according to Hanscel.

The event is not just for veterans or riders. Anyone is welcome to join. Even those without a motorcycle license have the chance to win the motorcycle—however, it is the new owners’ responsibility to obtain said license prior to driving it. The VFW Riders find a way to get the bike home, regardless of where the new owners live.

“A lot of times we’ll trailer the bike to the winner, if they’re out-of-state we’ll ship it to them,” he explained. “We get people as far away as Florida purchase our tickets. So we always have a back-up plan of shipping that bike, maybe all the way to Florida. We have people in Bakersfield, California purchase our tickets. So it’s pretty much nationwide.”

According to Hanscel, they ask those wishing to buy tickets to do so as soon as possible as the last three years they have sold out. Once tickets are sold out, no more tickets are printed.

Those who don’t buy a ticket can provide a monetary donation at the door, minimum of $10, to join in for the ride, dinner or after-party, however without a ticket, participants will not be entered into the raffle.

“Anybody can show up at any time after the ride,” said Hanscel. “Normally we don’t give the bike away until about 7 p.m. that evening”

Hanscel explained they encourage people to join in the ride even if they didn’t purchase a ticket.

“The majority of this ride, we take them far out in the country. A lot of the time we aren’t going any more than 20 miles per hour, because we want them to see our area of Ohio,” he explained.

According to Hanscel, following last year’s ride many out-of-state groups demanded that the routes be placed on a map so they could come back to Ohio to ride it again.

“The Ross County Sheriff Department, Highland County—all the way down to the Ohio River—they sent their motorcycle patrols. We had State Highway Patrol,” said Hanscel. “Because we do our sober rides, we were led by law enforcement our whole ride and that was 160 miles. It’s probably the safest ride you’re ever going to see.”

The Facebook event page, “VFWR 3762 4th Annual Never Say No To Veterans Poker Run,” is kept updated and, according to Hanscel, will include picture updates on the motorcycle.

“For the last few years our favorite part has been that everybody has jumped on board with the sober ride. We only do two stops during those 160 miles and the fact that we have law enforcement there during the whole thing—people felt really safe,” explained Hanscel. “We’re going on to our seventh year and we’ve never had anybody get hurt on one of our rides. It is something for us when we pull back onto the parking lot that everybody is safe.”

“We have a lot of people come in from out-of-state and if they come to the after-party and they want to have a good time, the VFW Riders will purchase them a hotel room over there at the Holiday Inn and we’ll escort them and their motorcycle over there and get them a room. That’s on us, because it’s very important to us that they get home to their families. That’s become our favorite part.”

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.

By Jennifer Woods