The Lorraine Cline Memorial Fund Poker Ride and Raffle is one of the fastest growing and most popular benefits in the Rim Country.
It’s only been in existence for four years, but already it’s attracting droves of followers from the Rim Country, southern Gila County and the Valley.
While the ride is a celebratory and festive outing designed to tickle the fancy of most all ATV owners, its real purpose is to benefit the fight against cancer.
Laci Sopeland, the granddaughter of Lorraine Cline who died four years ago of lung caner, organized the benefit rides in 2008 to earn money, which is donated to help pay expenses to local people waging war against the dreaded disease.
Sopeland says a portion of the money will ultimately help fund a type of free wellness clinic where Gila County residents can receive health care and checkups.
She says the clinic is a huge goal of hers because her grandmother’s cancer was not diagnosed until very late in the disease’s progression and had she known about it earlier, chances for survival would have been much better.
“She died only three months after it was diagnosed,” said Sopeland.
This year the ride is set for April 28 with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the ride starting one hour later at the O-bar-C ranch in Tonto Basin. Poker cards are available at $20 per hand and prizes will be paid for first, second and third best hands.
For more information, call (928) 978-1254 or e-mail: obarcranch @yahoo.com.
While Lorraine Cline was well known for decades around Gila County, some newcomers might not have met her and others might have had some fond memories of the pioneer slip away.
We asked Lorraine’s daughter, Teri Cline, to tell us more about her mother.
“Lorraine (Haines) Cline was born in Florence, Ariz. Nov. 12, 1935. She was the ninth child of Charlie and Abby Haines. They had a small goat ranch in Hayden, where the kids grew up and learned how to make do with very little. In those days, you did not waste anything; there was always a use for everything.
“My grandfather sold the goat ranch and they moved to Globe when she was in grade school. This is where she learned from her mother that giving was a whole lot better than receiving. My grandmother never drove, but walked all over the hills checking on her neighbors, cooking meals for them, mending clothes and ironing.
“Mom and Dad met at Globe High School and got married at the ripe old age of 16 and 18. They moved to the ranch in Tonto Basin where she learned very quickly how to feed a big crew of hungry cowboys. She had very good teachers, my Dad’s mother, Dude, Roxie, Dot and Aunt Jonnie Cline, Norma Jean Peace, Frances Conway and many more cowboys’ wives.
“My mom never wasted food, she could create a meal from leftovers that was always great. She was known for her excellent meals and baked goods. The Tonto people were some of the most caring, helpful folks in the country.
“I remember growing up with the thought of always helping your neighbor and anyone else that needed food, clothing, etc. If there were a benefit for someone in Tonto you could bet it would bring in a lot of people to help out. My Mom and Dad, along with many other old families in Tonto, were always there to donate their time, labor, material, money or food to help a needy family.
“My Mom was always in the background, not wanting to be the center of attention, working towards some kind of community project. She loved people and was genuinely concerned about their well being, always a good listener and very caring. She loved to go out in the hills with her friends on their quads and give them a little history lesson on the area.
“She and Dad were married for 56 years when she passed away from cancer August 18, 2008.
“So in honor of a great wife, mom and friend to all, this memorial fund was set up in her name to help other families that struggle with the effects of cancer. The funds are intended to help people in Gila County and we hope you will come forward and let us know what we can help with. My Mom would be proud of how big this cancer fund-raiser has gotten, she has always loved to help people, and this way, she still is.
“We appreciate your involvement in our yearly cancer fund-raiser.”
The children of Dale and Lorraine Cline: Lonny, Teri, Brent and their families