On your mark, get set ... pick a card.
Five-card draw met lawnmowers of all different varieties in order to win cash prizes recently. Held in Mayville, a number of Chautauqua County residents rode their traffic fleet of lawnmowers all for Hospice of Chautauqua County.
The Sons of American Legion Squadron 493 held its annual lawnmower poker run. This massive poker run drew in more than 125 riders to town to benefit Hospice and raised $4,730.
Many riders donated their lawn-mowing skills to an adventure that recognized not only a good time, but a great cause. It was a day full of fun and excitement as lawnmowers drew in a big crowd who cheered and hooted for them to win their prizes. Compared to motorcycle runs, this event was quite different as the vehicle of choice was a lawnmower. The idea came from a group of lawn mowers who meet Sunday afternoons at the William Travis Post 493 American Legion in Mayville. It inspired an idea to use their fun to support a good cause in the community.
Some lawnmowers were all gussied up in wild decorations, and others just showed off their riders. The lawn-mower enthusiasts revved up their engines and enjoyed a day of fun on their lawnmowers without having to mow. A map of the route and markers revealed paths to guide them to the best poker hand they could be given. Lawn-mower riders spent their day navigating this predetermined course in purpose of collecting these five playing cards. The lawn-mower poker run plotted its exciting course on Rails-to-Trails property with stops at Webb's, The Watermark, Chautauqua Suites, the Lakeview Hotel and Restaurant at the Docks, where participants gathered one card at each stop, eventually finishing back at the Legion with their "poker hand."
Along with the prizes, there was a special auction offered to those who attended. Hospice auctioned off an autographed Vince Gill hat and paper from when he performed at Chautauqua Institution. It was a great gift to win for any big Vince Gill fan. Three employees from Hospice attended Gill's concert, and one of them was lucky enough to have their hat signed by Gill himself. Deb Presbyporia, Mary Jo Foti-House and Lucy Stodd attended the concert, but it was Presbyporia's hat that had been signed, so that she could generously give it to Hospice to be used as an item up for grabs in the lawnmower race auction.
Every year, generally on the first Monday of September, The Sons of The American Legion hosts the Lawn Mower Poker Run to benefit Hospice of Chautauqua County. The event draws people from all over the county and continues to grow bigger with each year. The poker run proves to be an annual success because of the lawn-mowing hobbyists who enjoy a day of social fun all the while helping out a great cause for the community. Much of the success, however, is attributed to the poker run organizer, Tom Presbyporia, who gives his full attention and time to the event.
The generosity of many local businesses not only helped in the success of this event, but helped Hospice Chautauqua County in continuing to provide care to patients and families during the end stages of a loved one's life.
Megan D'Angelo director of community relations for Hospice, couldn't say enough about the annual poker run and felt a great deal of gratitude to Tom and Deb Presbyporia, Jack Carlson's family, the local businesses, and all those who participated and volunteered.
"What an amazing way to give back to the community," she said. "The lawnmower poker run is such a wonderful and unique way to bring a lot of people together to have fun, all the while helping raise money for Hospice."
Hospice is a unique nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care to those who are at the ending stages of their lives. The mission of Hospice is to deliver hope and dignity to patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families. For more than 30 years, Hospice has provided end-of-life care to the residents of Chautauqua County. Their experienced and professional Hospice team work together with the patients and their families to provide the care that they need. More than 42 percent of the people who have passed away in Chautauqua County are cared for by Hospice Chautauqua County.
For more information about Hospice Chautauqua County or to find out more about upcoming events that support their services, call Hospice at 338-0033 or visit www.hospicechautco.org.