“FFSF 2009 “World’s Largest Poker Run”
Dedicated in loving memory of Chief Charles “Buck” Clough, members of the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club achieved a feat never before attempted. The “World’s Largest Poker Run”. A benefit ride to support the Fallen Firefighter Survivors Foundation took place on Saturday April 18th 2009 with runs starting simultaneously in 12 states from Florida to Delaware. 2090 Bikers participated in the “Guinness Book of World Records” attempt at the world’s largest poker run.
The event was a huge success! With over 40 chapters of the Red Knights from 12 states participating at 21 different event locations from Delaware to Florida all taking place in unison to see that all of the guidelines set by the “Guinness Book Officials” were followed and documentation of the event was kept in order to officially break the old record which stood at 2030.
The Fallen Firefighter’s Survivors Foundation (FFSF) is an organization headed up by Sherri Lang of Winter Haven Florida. She was the backbone of the event. But breaking the record was actually secondary to the real purpose of the event, which was to raise funds and awareness for the FFSF. A foundation organized in memory of her son Benjamin Lang.
Benjamin Lang was killed in the line of duty on August 23, 2004. Following his death, his mother Sherri, founded LODDprevention.com and she works very diligently to uphold the mission statement’s goal of offering immediate financial assistance to the surviving family members of any Firefighter killed in the line of duty across the United States. The foundation is committed to operating in a respectful, professional manner with highest integrity. To achieve their goal, they are motivated to organize fund raising events and to seek funding from individuals, organizations and corporate entities. The FFSF will disburse those funds when necessary being mindful of the privacy and sensitivity of the families involved.
In planning for the event, Sherri incorporated the help of Matt Nichols, President of Florida Chapter 10 of the Red Knights based out of Winter Haven Florida. Matt and Sherry worked together to see that the word got out about their plans and Red Knights from 12 states sunk their teeth in to the event. In a response that has become truly characteristic of the Red Knights… the wheels started rolling and it was “Game On”!
Red Knights throughout the Southern Region better known as the “Dixie Confederation of Chapters” which stretch form Maryland to Texas, were onboard and working together to turn the event into “THE WORLD’S LARGEST POKER RUN”. Overall more than 40 chapters signed on to help with the planning and orchestration of the event.
In the true fashion of any motorcycle event, specially designed t-shirts, ride pins and patches were made available which afforded the opportunity for each individual chapter to make a little cash flow to help offset any costs experienced in putting on the event. The planning for the event took months to complete and after numerous meetings with the folks from Guinness and an overwhelming number of e-mails to all of the Red Knights leadership in the region, the attempt was made and it turned out to be very successful.
The dedication shown by the Red Knights was secondary only to the beautiful weather, which also stretched from Delaware to Florida that day. With temps in the mid 70s and plenty of sun, it was a perfect day to hold the poker run.
Here in my hometown of Ocean City Maryland, I witnessed the members of Maryland Chapter 3 host close to 250 at the Harley-Davidson dealership. The riders spent the better part of the day riding from stop to stop, drawing cards and enjoying some great camaraderie while making stops at some of our regular event sponsors in the area. We had a group from Vicious Cycles out of Harrisburg Pa. Come down to ride with us and “Salty” of the “On the Road with Harley-Davidson” television show was on hand with his film crew to record the event for one of the upcoming issues. The local ride ended at another local annual area event called” Pork in the Park”. A national BBQ Cook off Style Contest that is held here each year. It was a great way to end the ride and with the weather as nice as it was, the place was packed.
Following the record-breaking day, Sherri stated, “Today the Red Knights have shown the world who they are and what they are made of. On this day the world will see
the commitment and dedication they possess. We commend them. We applaud their loyalty, honor and the respect they have for one another. On behalf on the Fallen Firefighter Survivors Foundation; thank you, all of you!”
Speaking of the foundation she stated, “This foundation will offer hope and support at a time when it is needed most. We want our families to know they are not alone.” Sherri went on to thank all of the sponsors, volunteers and participants of the entire event. “It is people like you that bring balance to our lives. People like you that make this life worth living. This day proves, together we can and will make a difference!”
After the dust had cleared and everything was officially documented, calculated and confirmed, officers from the FFSF announced that they were going to dedicate the day’s effort and the World Record in the memory of Chief Charles “Buck” Clough of the Sudlersville Volunteer Fire Company. A fire company located on the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and home to Maryland Chapter 7 of the Red Knights. Chief Clough served for 26 years in the fire service. 18 of those years he held some type of officer’s position in the ranks of lieutenant, captain and chief. Those who worked along side him and a true credit to the job loved him. Chief Clough was a very respected member who will be sorely missed.
Members of the Dixie Confederation of Southern States will be honored with the presence of Sherri Lang at their annual convention being held in Wilmington N.C on May 15th – 18th 2009. At the convention Sherri plans on making a special presentation to all of the participating Chapters of the Red Knights that helped turn this attempt into a success and a new Guinness Book of Worlds Records for the “WORLDS LARGEST POKER RUN!”
Information about all of those participants and more about the foundation can be found at the following websites.
www.redknightsmc.com (check links page for a chapter in your area)
T-shirts, pins and patches are still available from the event and can be purchased by contacting Sherri Lang off the contacts page of the FFSF.
Written and submitted by:
Larry “Sack” Sackadorf
Maryland State President
Red Knights International Motorcycle Club