(Stock photo/ MorgueFile)

Last year, more than 100 riders raised $8,000 when the local chapter of the Saints MC motorcycle club hit the highways for their second-ever local charity fundraiser. But with great weather on tap Saturday for this year’s ride, they’re hoping to raise even more.

This weekend’s Saints MC Poker Run isn’t just open to members of the club, says event organizer Brandi Evans. Anyone with a bike can join in the poker run, and anyone — bike or no bike — can show up at the Saints’ Good Hope clubhouse around 3 p.m. Saturday to take part in all the post-ride activities, including a charity raffle to boost the fundraising effort even higher.

“You don’t even have to have a bike if you want to come and buy a raffle ticket; hear some music and have some food at the clubhouse,” said Evans. “The more we can raise, the better. With the funds we raised last year, we were able to pay the registration fees for everybody with a need who played both softball and basketball in Cullman Park & Rec’s Miracle League.”

Based at Cullman’s Field of Miracles, the Miracle League is purpose-built to offer local disabled people the kind of sporting opportunities they’d otherwise miss out on. Evans said she recognized the need for greater access to that kind of opportunity as she watched her 27 year-old son Jacob, who has Down Syndrome, light up at the chance to play ball as a child.

“He’s played ball since he was six years old, and we used to have to drive to Decatur for him to be able to do that,” she explained. “Then when the Miracle League started here in Cullman, it was great for him, but I saw that there were some other folks — folks with no money left over after medical expenses and housing — who really needed some help to be able to afford to do it consistently.

“It’s a little thing, but you just don’t realize how much this means to them — to be able to get out there and play ball; to have people cheer them on and yell for them — it does wonders for their quality of life and their social connections.”

The Saints MC Poker Run and charity auction departs from the Cullman Elks Lodge this Saturday from 10:30-11 a.m., with registration opening on site at 9:30. The poker run will feature five local stops including Goat Island Brewery, and will end back at the Saints MC clubhouse around 3 p.m., with live music kicking off at 5. Registration is $20 per rider ($25 per couple).

For more information, contact Brandi Evans at 256-531-3171, or connect with the ride’s event page by searching “Saints M/C Alabama Cullman County” on Facebook.

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by phone at 256-735-2131 ext. 145.

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