By Ted Waddell
WURTSBORO July 29, 2003 On Sunday, the Wurtsboro Harley Owners Group (HOG), Ladies of Harley and OTooles Harley-Davidson held their 9th Annual Cancer Poker Run to benefit St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital.
Its always a success, said John OToole, owner of the local Harley-Davidson dealership. We get a good turnout, and we felt we could help some kids.
Last year, the 8th Annual Poker Run raised about $27,000 for St. Judes. This year, event organizers were hoping to match, if not top, that amount in 2003.
Thomas Tray and a scantily clad Florence Gitlin of Milford, Pa. took part in the annual poker run astride his 1987 Harley-Davidson Sportster.
Asked why she participated, Gitlin replied, The excitement, and they raise money for St. Judes.
Giles Purvis of Walden showed up on his 1981 FLH Shovelhead.
Ive been doing business with John OToole for over 20 years, and its a good cause, he said. We came out here to contribute, and its a good day to ride.
Before the poker run kicked it up into high gear, Maury Kirschner of Wallkill sat on his 1950 Harley FL talking to Tammy Amador of Middletown on her 2000 Low Rider.
Then it was off into the wind.
Taking a break from directing traffic on a day in which Harleys definitely had the right of way in the Village of Wurtsboro, Joseph Andujar, one of the uniformed heroes of September 11, 2001, directed traffic standing next to his distinctive 2000 Harley FLH Road King Police Special.
Its about giving back, helping those who are not capable of helping themselves or dont have the means, he said. I have the time, the means and the muscle, so I give back a little.
He works for the NYPD and on Sunday was representing the Fraternal Order of Police of Orange County.
Andujars wife Lori is fairly new to biking. But now shes hooked. On Sunday, Lori helped staff the registration table, as people signed up for the poker run.
I never rode a bike in my life, she said. One day he said, Get on, lets do it together, and so far, so good.
Well-known attorney Henri Shawn of Monticello started riding in the late 1960s with a Harley XLTH that kept breaking down, so until he was drafted out of law school, he switched over to English bikes for a while before returning to the legendary, made-in-the-United States of America Harley-Davidson.
I was forced to sell everything, including my bikes and a horse, he recalled of being called to serve his country.
After he got out of the military, Shawn finished law school, got married and had children.
Then a few years ago, it was back to the basics of bikes.
On Sunday, he joined hundreds of fellow bikers on the annual poker run with his 2000 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic.
Its fun, and its something to do for the kids, he said.
On the subject of motorcycling, Shawn said, They call motorcycling Prozac on Wheels youre just away from everything. Its a great feeling.
After completing the 59.1-mile long poker run, the riders partied at Mamakating Town Park in Bloomingburg to the sounds of WPDHs Mad Mike.