Riders deal a great hand for charity

Riders deal a great hand for charity

If positive feedback is anything to go by Saturday’s Orbost Poker Run was one of the best ones yet.

In its ninth year, the 2019 event has raised $28,000 and still counting as more is expected to come in over the coming week.

Riding out of Bairnsdale on Saturday morning, around 130 bikes were joined by others driving cars as they headed out in convoy towards Lake Tyers to add to their poker hand. They then headed to Orbost, Marlo for lunch at the hotel, out to Bemm River and back to Orbost for the poker hand reveals, charity auction and entertainment.

“It was a great turn out,” organising committee member, Kevin Goudge, said.

“We had a fair few interstate runners, and quite a few from Melbourne. I had a mate come down from Tocumwal. The support from all over was terrific.”

With so many bikes out on the roads, safety is always a concern.

“This year was really fantastic because we had no accidents,” Kevin said.

“Everyone was really well behaved and had a great time.

“The feedback was excellent, even better than previous years I think. There seemed to be a lot more people walking around on Saturday night saying how great it all was.

“It all just went off really well.

“We had a really great mix with 185 registrations for the poker run, which included cars and even a few hot rods, which was great.”

Despite the top temperature for Orbost nudging 36 degrees on Saturday, the heat didn’t appear to knock too many back from joining in.

“It did get pretty warm,” Kevin said.

“But everyone hung in and completed the run. It was still pretty warm at the hotel that night, but it was still a great night and everyone had fun.”

The charity auction kicked off at 9pm with a terrific pile of donated items up for sale, from autographed Mad Max photographs, a limited edition signed cricket print, an esky and a beer fridge, to signs, power tools, a tool box, a fire pot and even a giant plush dog. The auction alone raised $6000.

Split Whiska provided the lively entertainment at the Orbost Club Hotel for their eighth year.

“Split Whiska were fantastic as usual, and said they’ll be back again,” Kevin said.
Adding to the fundraising tally this year was a cover charge for the pub night for anyone not registered for the poker run.

“Everyone who pays to take part in the poker run got in for free of course, but we figured this year those who haven’t paid registration, why should they get it all for free? But it wasn’t an issue at all, with many paying their $10 and then throwing in another $5 or so for the cause. That brought in about another $1000 on the night,” Kevin said.

“Even with the t-shirts, which we were selling for $35, people were chucking in an extra $5-10 dollars. The crowd was more than generous.”

“Everyone had fun and the pub had a good night. It was a great night all round,” Kevin said.

The Orbost Poker Run was established in 2010 to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Monash when Orbost’s Hibberson family wanted to give back after having used the facility during their daughter Gracie’s illness. Next year the event will celebrate 10 years. It will no doubt be a big one, especially as a quarter of a million dollars is knocking on the door for the total raised since its inception.

PICTURED: Carl Thomas, of Eastwood, with Mia (12) and Tim Joiner, of Newmerella, were among the participants and supporters at the start of this year’s Orbost Poker Run, which left Bairnsdale on Saturday morning. Around 130 riders made their way to Orbost via Lake Tyers Beach, Marlo and Bemm River, gathering poker cards and raising more than $28,000 for Ronald McDonald House Monash along the way.