Bikers on the annual Vietnam Veterans’ Poker Run freewheelin’ just out of Lismore.
Bikers on the annual Vietnam Veterans’ Poker Run freewheelin’ just out of Lismore. Patrick Gorbunovs

Vets deal up the aces

A PACK of 140 motorcyclists rode 200km to play a single hand of poker yesterday.

In the past four years, the annual Vietnam Veterans' Poker Run has steadily increased in size and attracted riders from as far south as Woolgoolga and north to Brisbane.

Yesterday, riders embarked from Lismore train station and headed for Casino.

Eventually they ended up in Wollongbar where the winner of the poker run was decided.

"What happens is, there's five stops and every place you stop, you draw a card," Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club Northern NSW Chapter president Ray Hahn explained

"At the end of the run, whoever has the best hand wins $400."

The rider with the worst hand also received $100.

While Vietnam Veterans MC organised the event, any motorbike rider could take part.

Several veterans who served in Middle-Eastern conflicts participated yesterday.

"Even though it's organised by the Vietnam vets, we're all veterans and we've all pretty much done the same stuff," Mr Hahn said.

"People come for the camaraderie and it's about just having a good time."

Riders sold raffle tickets during yesterday's poker run to raise money for Legacy, an organisation which assists families of Australian servicemen and women who have died or been incapacitated by war.

A portion of money raised may also be given directly to war veterans currently in hospital.

"Some of them have been in there for indefinite periods," Vietnam Veterans MC Northern NSW Chapter vice-president Bruce Lynch said.

"We can buy things for them and make their lives a little bit more pleasurable."

Yesterday's poker run had 11 more participants than in 2011, and Mr Lynch predicted the event would keep getting bigger.

"You can see everyone standing around talking and gibbering about motor bikes and comparing sizes. That's what it's all about - camaraderie."



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