Bikers cruise for a cause

By Gus Bode

The sound of thunder shook the Kroger on Giant City Road Saturday morning, but it wasn’t a rainstorm.

Roughly 1,400 people rode motorcycles through the Kroger parking lot for the 8th annual Kroger Poker Run for the Fund to benefit the Coach Kill Cancer Fund. A poker run is an organized event in which participants travel a planned route, making stops along the way to draw a playing card. The goal is to have the best possible hand by the end of the run.

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Last year, 986 riders raised $35,000 for the charity, which Coach Jerry Kill started in Sept. 2006. Organizers did not yet know the totals for this year as of Sunday night.

Donna Broady of Mount Vernon described the event as “a great cause.”

Also showing support was the entire SIU women’s basketball team, who volunteered to hand out refreshments and assist with the card drawings. The players applied their competitive attitudes to the card drawings by splitting into groups and challenging each other to get the attention of the riders.

“We are just competing against each other and having fun,” said Erica Smith, a guard on the SIU women’s basketball team.

Darla Iubelt, manager of the Kroger store, said she appreciated the team’s enthusiasm.

“It’s a lot of work but anything worthwhile is a lot of work,” Iubelt said. “These girls have been a great help.”

Mike and Darla Brachear of Benton supported the fund by riding their Harley on the Poker Run.

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“I think it’s a good cause. We really enjoy it,” Brachear said. “Kill earned a lot of respect for the community and we will continue supporting the cause.”

James Durbin can be reached at

536-3311 ext. 254 or [email protected]

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