Whoever ends up drawing a royal flush or full house this month at a Kiwanis Club Poker Run, it will be the schoolchildren of Riverview and Gibsonton and the surrounding area who will come out aces.
“We make it so you can ride, walk, crawl or drive; we don’t care how you come out and play a hand of poker with us,” said Dustie Amatangelo, a board member of the Kiwanis Club of Brandon and an organizer of the club’s Third Annual Poker Run. The club regularly donates to programs at Summerfield, Summerfield Crossings and Gibsonton elementary schools. “Just come out and support the initiative and the community,” Amatangelo said.
Among the programs that will benefit from the event is a Kiwanis and Mosaic drive that helps feed 148 students weekly at Gibsonton Elementary. The club also has provided more than 100 local students with shoes, thanks to the Kiwanis Kicks 4 Kids program.
“We were approached by the schools saying that they were having to tape students’ shoes together,” Amatangelo said, “and they asked us to give them some help with that, so we have been collecting and providing shoes to the local schools for the last 18 months.
“Our goal from this event is $3,000 plus 100 pairs of sneakers to celebrate our 100 years of service internationally,” Amatangelo said. The club also welcomes donations of new shoes for local schoolchildren with shoe sizes 7 to 13 ½ needed as well as sizes 1 to 7 for larger children.
The Poker Run is set for March 28, starting at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 1810 Front St., Valrico, with registration at 11 a.m. and the event kicking off at noon. It will cost $15 for the first poker hand with $5 for each additional hand.
You can preregister at www.brandonkiwanis.com. Prizes will be awarded for the top three hands and, for those who draw the threes and twos, there will also be a prize for worst hand. There are free T-shirts for the first 50 bikers who register for the Poker Run compliments of EmbroidMe.
The Poker Run ends at the Eagles with live music from 1 to 4 p.m. with Calvin Oatsvall (aka Calvin O), and another session of live music from 4 to 7 p.m. with the Steel Horse Band.
Festivities will include raffles, a chest of cheer, and food, with vendors also on hand. There will be a barbecue for anyone who plays a hand in the Poker Run.
“The partnership with the Eagles makes it really nice because then we have a place to bring it all together at the end with music and vendors there,” Amatangelo said.
The idea for the Poker Run took off three years ago when the club was looking for a new slant on fundraising. “Everyone was doing the golf tournaments, so we were just looking for something different,” Amatangelo said.
For more information on the event, email Dustie Amatangelo, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.brandonkiwanis.com.