Poker run to benefit EMS, fire, police

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By Mindy Ragan Wood

Staff Writer

A Yukon man may be on track to break a Guinness Book of World record for the most participants in a single poker run next Saturday.

The 10th annual Ride to Remember Oklahoma’s First Responders will benefit the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial, Oklahoma Fallen and Living Firefighters Memorial and the Emergency Responders Assistance Program (ERAP).

Previously the benefit supported the Murrah Bombing memorial and now will support first responders.

David Dunn, of Yukon, and coordinator of the run and owner of Margarita Island & Cantina said last year the ride attracted 1,900 participants. The record is 1,494 and this year they plan to register their list of participants with the publication to officially break the record.

“Hundreds have already signed up,” he said. “When we first started, it was about the memorial and now what we’re trying to do is focus on our first responders. When we first began this, we had some who had not been back since the bombing. They couldn’t bring themselves to go back and some of them went back for the first time when we started this,” he said.

The number of riders shows how much people care about the remembering victims, survivors and first responders, Dunn said.

“The people in Oklahoma all remember where they were when the bombing happened,” he said. “They care.”

The Oklahoma Fallen and Living Firefighters Memorial is located at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum, 2716 NE 50th Street in Oklahoma City. The Memorial, Just Another Day, honors all Oklahoma firefighters who have served citizens since the inception of the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association in 1894.

The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial remains under construction.

“They’ve got the land and some of what they need, but they’ve had a hard time raising money for it. They’re in the process of building it,” Dunn explained. “It’s going to be the first of its kind in the country.”

The memorial will honor the sacrifices made by fallen officers and will be located in front of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety at 3600 Martin Luther King Avenue in Oklahoma City.

ERAP assists first responders and their families in crisis. It provides care for those who experience the effects of working in trauma due to a “critical incident,” their website states. It provides training, education, and psychological assistance to help the healing process.

“They help people who see things they shouldn’t have to see to keep us safe,” Dunn said.

The ride is open to motorcyclists, cars and jeeps. Riders can register at Papa’s Leather Barn, 6623 NW 23rd in Bethany, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 for $20 and $10 for each additional passenger. Breakfast will be served for donations at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 6501 NW 23rd Street in Bethany. Online registration is available at margaritaislandok.com. The ride begins at noon.

Cash prizes will be $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and 10 prizes for $100.