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Motorcycles Rumble Into Escalon
Dennis Parish has been a busy man.

The president of the American Legion Riders of Escalon Post 263 of the American Legion began thinking of ways last October for the post to sponsor an event for the motorcycle enthusiasts. He also wanted a way to raise funds for local veterans' assistance programs, as well as a way to provide a social event for the American Legion Riders, an auxiliary of the American Legion.

Enter the poker run.

Motorcycle poker runs are events where participants follow a preplanned roadway course over a part of the day with stops along the way. At each stop, participants are given one playing card. At the final stop, they receive their last card, and the rider with the best five-card hand of poker wins.

Parish started talking to his fellow post members, began lining up sponsors, and contacted various friends and acquaintances in other area American Legion posts. Before long, he had well over 100 riders lined up for the event.

On Saturday, Oct. 10 post 263 hosted its first poker run.

"I already know we're doing it next year," Parish said of the event. "We got a great response."

The run began in Lathrop at Delta Power Sports, and had stops scheduled at various motorcycle shops and other venues in Copperopolis, Knights Ferry, and Oakdale before concluding at Main Street Park in Escalon.

Escalon members of the American Legion Riders manned the stops.

"We have at least four members at each stop," Parish said, noting the work the post put into the event.

Participants paid $20 to enter the event, and 25 percent of the total amount of money raised went into the winning pot. The majority of the funds raised were donated to veterans' assistance programs in French Camp and Stockton.

Larry McCormack and his wife, Lori, were among the first riders to arrive in Escalon after finishing the run. McCormack is a member of the Marysville American Legion Riders, and recently moved to Stockton.

"It was great," McCormack said of the event. "Well organized and a lot of fun."

"It was a pretty ride," wife Lori added. "And, we stopped for breakfast."

Other riders were from as far away as San Jose, San Francisco, and Amador, and as close as Tracy.

Bob Korth and Bob Shandrew said they enjoyed the event. Friends from Stockton, they said they frequently participate in area poker runs.

"I saw it advertised in the Thunder Press (a magazine for motorcycle enthusiasts)," Korth said. "It was a nice run."

Shandrew also said he enjoyed the ride.

"We got great weather, too," he said.

The winning poker hand was held by Nellie Arredondo, who won $630.