Miracle League holds second annual motorcycle ride fundraiser

CONYERS — Motorcycle riders rev up your engines and get ready for a smooth ride at the second annual Miracle League Poker Run.

A fundraiser for the Miracle League, which aids in the construction of baseball fields for disabled children, the rambling ride starts off in Conyers, traverses south to Lovejoy, heads north to the city of Atlanta, takes a jaunt west to Douglasville and then motors back to Conyers.

Law enforcement escorts the ride, stopping traffic at red lights, and riders get to spend time with special needs athletes, as well as eat lunch at No Mas, a popular Mexican restaurant in the city.

Stephanie Davis, Miracle League national program director, said the Miracle League solicited riders from motorcycle riding clubs for last year’s event, and that those who joined in appreciated the police escort, warm welcomes and tasty food.

“Everyone that participated gave us wonderful feedback,” said Davis.

This year’s Miracle League Poker Run takes place on Sept. 28 and is complemented by a bike and car show and concert later on in the day. The ride starts at Mountain Motorsports, 899 Iris Drive in Conyers, with registration at 9 a.m. and kickstands up at 10 a.m. Cost for the ride is $35 and includes lunch and dinner.

The band of cycles first stops at Lovejoy to see the sight of a future Miracle League Field and to pick up additional riders. Then, it’s off to No Mas for nourishment. The route then continues to Douglasville, where riders get to watch special needs athletes play a game and even join in the game themselves by being a buddy to the players.

Along the way, riders are eligible to win an array of gift cards in drawings. They also collect playing cards for a poker hand, for which they could win a cash prize of $200, $300 or $500.

The group then heads back to Conyers where they can vote for their favorite motorcycle and car in a show that runs from 2 to 7 p.m. at Stone Mountain Harley-Davidson, 900 Dogwood Drive in Conyers.

Sign-ups are still being taken for the car and bike show, which requires a $25 entry fee.

The evening gala includes music by Salt Road, a cookout dinner, kids inflatables, raffles (including a 52-inch television) and giveaways. Those not participating in the ride or car show can purchase dinner, at $5 for adults, and $2.50 for children.

Proceeds from the poker run, car and bike show and dinner benefit the national headquarters of the non-profit Miracle League, which is based in Conyers, where the first Miracle League Field began operation in 2001.

The national office provides financial support to the Miracle League in Conyers which serves up to 200 athletes from Rockdale and surrounding counties including Newton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Henry and Walton. The Rockdale Miracle League operates under the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association and has a fall and spring season.

The Miracle League also provides assistance — such as recommendations on how to build the field and raise funds for it — to other communities that have started their own Miracle Leagues, including Newton County, which should have its field constructed by spring 2014, said Davis.

In total, the Miracle League provides guidance for more than 200 Miracle League Organizations across the world in places as far away as Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Davis said that, as of press time, she didn’t know the amount raised from last year’s event, which attracted about 40 riders. She hopes to at least double the participation this year.

“We did make some money last year but it was more of an awareness and learning experience,” said Davis. “Our goal (this year) is to try and get 100 riders and if we can reach that goal, then we can make a significant amount.”

To learn more, visit www.miracleleague.com.