500 Harley Davidson Riders Turn Rim Country Into Hog Heaven


The tell-tale rumble of Harley Davidson motorcycles stirred up dust in the Rim country as more than 500 riders rode into Strawberry for the third stop on their poker run.

Involved in a Harley Bike Week in the Valley, the Phoenix Arizona Harley Owners Group Chapter #93 and Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson Dealership sponsored a Make-A-Wish Wednesday Ride for Wish Kids, said Rebecca Villicana, Make-A-Wish President.

The run began last year in honor of Brayden, a 6-year-old wish kid, Donna MacDonald, director of development for Make-A-Wish said. His wish was to own a Harley, Villicana said, so Make-A-Wish bought him one and this Phoenix club adopted him, she said. In his honor, the dealership and the club sponsored the first run last year and raised $17,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation.

They expect to raise more than $20,000 for the wish kids this year MacDonald said.

The bikers, decked in black leather, fringe and bandannas, took over Strawberry's parking lots, stopping in the Sportsmen's Chalet for a cool drink, a chance to swap tales, a bathroom break and a poker card. Each person pays $25 to enter and at each stop they pick up a new card, MacDonald said.

A novice biker, Villicana, asked if she could hitch a ride for the run. She was introduced to biker Tony Malde and made the entire loop on his 1995 Harley Davidson Ultra Deluxe.

"Right here, in Strawberry the panoramic views are incredible," she said. "I was also saying Hail Mary's at every turn."

Riders left early this morning from Phoenix, drove to Mayer for the first card, Camp Verde for the second, Strawberry for the third and the rest stop at the junction of Highways 87 and 188 south of Payson for the fourth. The final stop in Tempe also will be where the winning hands are paid off.

For information on the Make-A-Wish Foundation, call (800) 324-9474.

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