How to Set Up and Plan a Motorcycle Poker Run

We have a few tips on how to set up a motorcycle poker run in conjunction to a motorcycle rally or as a stand alone event. Whether your run is planned as a fund raiser for charity or just an excuse to get out and enjoy a ride through the countryside, the more organization that goes into it generally means more fun, better results and fewer headaches.

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Here are a few basic rules on how to organize a motorcycle poker run.

How Does a Poker Run Work?
If you need to ask, it might be easier to sell raffle tickets for your fundraiser because it takes a little more effort to learn how to set up a motorcycle poker run and to wrap your head around poker run rules than getting businesses to donate a prize and selling chances to your friends. It helps to have participated in one or work with another person who is an experienced organizer before jumping in and going solo. Those who have not been discouraged yet should keep reading.

Important Decisions
There are certain issues to be decided beforehand that will determine how you proceed. Here are a few tips:

Liability Insurance
The first order of business for a motorcycle poker run or rally is to visit your insurance agent to getand buy a liability policy and your attorney to have an event release of liability form drawn up for all participants to sign at registration. The reason I listed this step first is because I’ve known more than one motorcycle poker run and bike rally that was cancelled because risks were not known or the cost of insurance was not figured in on the front end.

Who to Invite?
Will your ride be open to club members only? This is usually the rule for a club sponsored fund raiser. If the ride is a club event, a committee should be formed to govern where the money goes and who is responsible for approving the petty cash expenditures necessary to pay for advertising materials, supplies and prizes.

Or will the attitude be the more the merrier which is the kind usually favored for charity fundraisers or bike rally events. If you are trying to fund a charitable contribution or put your bike rally in the black, numbers are very important. In this type of run, a decision should be made on where the money will come from to pay for expenses associated with the motorcycle poker run. For instance, will expenses be paid for by the club, you as an individual or taken out of the money that you raise?

What is Included?
Will you serve or sell food and water? Will you have a 50/50?

What Kind of Poker Run?
Bikers who have been on a few runs are helpful to have on your planning committee because they can share some ideas on activities that will make your run entertaining for the participants as well as fun and safe games to play at the checkpoints that will make finding volunteers for your next run’s checkpoints easier. One of the all time favorites is a scavenger hunt which can consist of anything from looking for landmarks or businesses so long as the search does not interfere with safe riding practices.

Managing the Event's Registration

The Registration Booth
Appoint at least one person to be in charge of the registration table (more may be necessary depending on the number of participants). This team or individual should know how to score the cards at the end of the run, be considered trustworthy enough to take in the money, keep an eye on the money and get signatures on the liability release drawn up by your attorney. They should also have some pre-training as to how to make a decision on who should be turned away and not allowed to participate in the motorcycle poker run.

Planning the Route

How Long Should the Poker Run Route Actually Be?
The length of the route depends on the amount of time that you want the run to last. Do you want the ride to be over in an afternoon or do you want it to span several days? For a single day motorcycle poker run, between fifty and one hundred miles is good. Increase the number of miles exponentially for each additional day.

Where Should the Ride Take Place?
Choose a scenic stretch of road with as little traffic as possible that offers cell phone coverage, emergency help should a rider need it, gas stations, food and water. After the route has been mapped out on paper, the route should be tested at least once before the day of the poker run to check road conditions and to be certain that the plan is as sound in person as it is on paper.

Manned checkpoints are necessary for poker runs that include games or have the bikers draw cards to avoid cheating. The problem with this is finding two volunteers to man each of the checkpoints. For this reason, you had better have some tricks up your sleeve that will make the job as attractive as possible with games or some activity other than the usual duties.

Your checkpoint officials can preside over games of riding skill, ring toss or toss the balloon. One can make sure the riders abide by the rules of the poker run and the other can organize the scorecards.

Poker Run Expenses

You will need to make your own supply list depending on the games and the kind of run that you choose. Beyond that the basics are relatively simple. Pop up tents tables chairs money boxes 2 part tickets if you are having a 50/50 or awarding prizes helium balloons for the checkpoints decks of cards a different color sticker to give the bikers at each checkpoint

If the poker run is a club event, a mention in a couple of club newsletters will probably suffice. But if your event is for charity and open to all; you will need to advertise.

Exhaust all of the inexpensive and free options at your disposal before paying for advertisements. Start with printed flyers and as many free radio and television spots as you can beg or borrow. Post on biker bulletin boards and forums. Remember the less you spend on your poker run, the more you will have to donate to the charity of your choice.

These tips on how to organize a motorcycle poker run are just that; tips. You should always consult with the authorities and your legal advisor in your planning efforts.

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