July 9, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The 1st Annual Viking Poker Run, a group motorcycle ride which aims to raise money to create an athletic scholarship at Northeast High School in the names of fallen KCFD firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh, was held on Saturday, July 9.
The run started at 10:00 a.m. at Northeast Middle School (4904 Independence Ave.), and riders went on to draw a playing card at each of a handful of stops around the greater metropolitan area. The run ended at 901 Tracy, where participants were met with food, music, refreshments, and good fun. Event organizer SueAnn Erb was encouraged with how the 1st Annual Poker Run turned out, and is already looking towards the future.
“I cannot wait. I know all the things to do now,” said Erb. “Our retired coach, Wuanita Small, actually called on 70-plus motorcycle businesses. All of them were very supportive, and many of them offered up donations.”
Erb also recognized the generous food donations from local businesses, such as Rambo’s Chicken and Burgers, Anthony’s, The North End, the DiCapo family, and Snyder’s grocery store, among others. Those donations helped fuel the whole event, which in turn hopes to fuel student-athletes at Northeast High School to achieve great things.
“This seemed to be the right thing to do,” said Erb. “We’re starting the first athletic scholarship at Northeast, and we’re doing that in memory of John Mesh and Larry Leggio. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do that.”
Erb said that the scholarships will look to support high academic achievers who show good sportsmanship in the field of competition. A portion of the funds raised from the event are also expected to help establish Northeast High School’s first athletic Hall of Fame. Bill Kanan, President of the Northeast Vikings N Club Association, spoke about the Hall of Fame during Saturday’s event.
“We’re going to invite the first class of state champions, undefeated teams, and people who’ve won awards,” said Kanan. “There’s some history – we have an Olympian, Tim Harden, he graduated in 1992. He ran on the silver medalist 4×100 team in Atlanta in 1996. We have some famous people who really took athletics to another step in life, and that’s really what we’re about.”
The winner of the Poker Run was Tim Ledford, who won a gift certificate for a leather riding jacket valued at up to $299.99. Second place went to Mark Choplin, who took home a bucket of motorcycle cleaning gear. Third place finishers Steve Parscale won a gift card for a free oil change, as did Mike Mesh, who finished in fourth place. The rider with the worst poker hand was Ed Bragg, although he did take home two $25 gift cards to Advantage Powersports for the trouble.