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Annual Ride for Independence becomes part of June Jaunt event
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Brad Wright, who volunteered during last year's Sunflower Diversified Services Ride for Independence, eagerly awaits the third-annual event.

The third annual Ride for Independence poker run promises to be bigger and better than ever because of the new partnership between Sunflower Diversified Services and June Jaunt organizers, said Connie Oetken, Sunflower director of development.

“We are grateful to the organizers of June Jaunt for collaborating with us this year,” Oetken said. “This gives us a great opportunity to reach many local communities and spread Sunflower’s message of independence for people with disabilities.”

The poker run is set for Saturday, June 1. All proceeds are earmarked for the Beautiful Minds Art Studio. This studio, which is in the works, will showcase the talents of clients at Sunflower.

Registration for the poker run begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Sunshine Garage in Larned. Motorcycle kickstands go up at 10:30 a.m. Other types of vehicles are welcome too.

The fee for riders and drivers is $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the poker run. It is $10 for passengers and $10 for an extra poker hand.

Five stops along the way include a mystery destination; participants will be directed by signage. The itinerary is: Gregg’s Sports Pub and Grub in Rush Center; Tap Room in Hoisington; mystery stop; Squeegy’s Bar and Grill in Claflin; and Jack Kilby Square during June Jaunt in downtown Great Bend.

At each location, riders and drivers win a card for a poker hand by participating in a basketball shoot, ring toss, beanbag toss, golf-ball putting and dart throwing.

The best poker hand wins $150, while second place earns $75. The holder of the worst hand takes home $50.

“We are trying to have a little something for everyone,” Oetken said. “This is a really fun event and we hope the community comes out to support our neighbors with disabilities and delays.

“Sunflower receives tax revenues but the poker run and other fundraisers help us fill in a few of the financial gaps. We welcome past poker-run participants and newcomers to show support for people that need a helping hand.”

Sunflower, a non-profit agency, serves children and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. All proceeds from all fundraisers stay in these communities. Sunflower is in its 53rd year.

For more information or to register for the poker run, call 620-792-1325.