Event Raises $8,100 For Foundation

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The largest crowd in the event's history turned out June 14 in Pine to participate in the 5th annual Justice McNeeley Foundation benefit.

During the day, the revelers frolicked in a morning ATV poker ride, afternoon volleyball and horseshoe tournaments, live music provided by the Rockin' Ron Gibson Band, raffles and auctions.

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ATV riders motor into the national forests, southeast of Pine, at the start of the Justice McNeeley Foundation benefit poker run held Saturday. A full-house hand won top prize of the poker game.

"It was our best ever," event sponsor Katie Parks said. "We're estimating we earned about $8,100."

For the poker run, 76 riders turned out on a variety of ATVs, motorcycles and OHVs.

Some were customized, high-dollar, 800 cc rigs loaded with high-tech accessories. Others were older, smaller, less powerful models suitable only for a single rider.

Most all the off road vehicles, however, had one thing in common -- they were outfitted with coolers and ice chests filled with plenty of refreshing beverages for the hot and dusty ride from the starting line at Rimside Grill to Twin Buttes and back.

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An ATV rider entered in the Justice McNeeley poker run makes her way to the starting line while being followed by others.

Along the way, riders made five stops during which they received tokens that could be redeemed for playing cards once riders returned to the starting line.

After all returned and were dealt their poker hands, Cindy Didomenico's full house was the best of the game.

In the true spirit of the day, she donated the $100 in prize money back to the Justice McNeeley Foundation.

In volleyball, the host Rimside Grill team of Mike Green, Mike Claxton, Jim Quinton and Steve Morken emerged victorious in a marathon-like tournament that lasted six-plus hours.

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Justice McNeeley (left) chats with friends at the benefit held at the Rimside Grill in Pine.

The team also donated its $250 in prize money back to the Justice McNeeley Foundation.

In horseshoes, the team known only as "Bonnie and Nick" was first. Moe and John Botkin were second.

During the fun-filled day, Justice McNeeley -- who the foundation is named for -- was on hand at Rimside Grill greeting visitors, playing with friends and cheering on teams and riders.

The foundation was begun in 2004 to purchase Justice a specialized wheelchair called a Go-Bot.

The boy, a student at Pine Strawberry Elementary School suffers from muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy.

The success of the first event -- then held at Sidewinders Saloon --rompted organizers to continue hosting the benefits each June in Pine.

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A participant in the horseshoes tournament makes an attempt during the contest. A team known only as "Bonnie and Nick" won the event.

Three years ago, the benefit was moved from Sidewinders to Rimside Grill.

All funds earned during the annual poker runs are used to provide aid to Rim Country children and families in need.

Parks said the benefits have become an overwhelming success thanks to the support of the local businesses and individuals who donate prize money and raffle and auction items.

"We owe them a big ‘thank you' for their generosity," Parks said.

For more information about the foundation, call Parks at (928) 476-2233.

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