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Poker run benefits State Veterans Home

Organizers of this year’s Ride for the Veterans are hoping to raise enough money to buy local veterans at the State Veterans Home a projector and screen for the dining room at the Oxford nursing home.

The event will have several ways for people to take part, whether they own a motorcycle or not.

The Poker Run will begin at 2 p.m. from Locals Restaurant and Bar on the Square. The first hand of cards is $10. From there, those riding on motorcycles or in cars will travel around Oxford and Lafayette County to various places to draw more hands for $5 each. Their scores will be written down on a score sheet that is returned to Locals at the end of the event and tallied up.

Those who prefer to walk, a Poker Walk to will take participants to various locations around the Square to draw their cards.

However, for those who prefer to stay inside at Locals can purchase all of their hands there and enjoy a silent auction, door prizes and raffles, which includes a 50-inch lawn mower.

One of the silent auction items is a “booze barrel,” a large bucket filled with a large variety of bottles of liquor.

The winners of the Poker Run/Walk will receive a portion of the money collected from the card draws.

Joe Dickey, one of the organizers, said the event started three years ago when he was approached by his friend Tony Deal who had an idea to do an event to raise money for the veterans at the nursing home to improve their quality of life. The two were joined by friends Jason Plunk and Rocky Kennedy and they formed their own committee.

“No matter how nice a place like that is, the people there can get bored,” Dickey said. “If we can get them this projector and large screen, they can sit and watch games and be able to see the scores or watch movies each afternoon. It’s hard for some of them to see on a regular television.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting an 80-percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon. Dickey said the event will take place rain or shine.

“People can draw all their hands at Locals,” he said. “And if the weather is bad, it’s even a better reason to come out as it means a better chance at the prizes.”

Last year’s event was held at the Oxford Conference Center and they raised $4,500. So far this year, they’ve raised $10,000 through sponsorships.

Dickey, who retired from the U.S. Army, said he hopes to make the event an official nonprofit fundraiser and expand it over the years to come.

“It’s not just about raising money for the veterans here in Oxford, but also about raising awareness about the State Veterans Home,” Dickey said. “A lot of people don’t even know it exists.”

The event also hits close to home for Dickey.

“My father has been a resident there for three years,” Dickey said. “I’m involved out there a lot and want to do what I can to make life better for all the veterans there.”

For more information, visit the Ride for the Veterans Facebook page.