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Next Firefighter Up Poker Run check presentation - photo by Gina Clugston

Bikers Raise Nearly $5,400 For Local Volunteer Fire Stations

COARSEGOLD — Paid Call Firefighters (PCFs) at Yosemite Lakes Park Station 10 and North Fork Station 11 will have extra funds which to purchase what they need to do their jobs, thanks to the hard work of Mitchell Riegelhuth and Lori Brown of G’ma and Pappa’s Motorcycle Apparel.

For the second year, Riegelhuth worked with businesses, community members and organizations to host the “Next Firefighter Up” Poker Run.

G’ma and Pappa’s was joined by the American Legion Riders Post 11, and Lady Bikers of California – which founder Terri Hendricks says is a Facebook Group, not a club. Also stepping in to help was the One National Under God Motorcycle Ministry and the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.

“This is a group effort,” says Riegelhuth. “A lot of people donate and become sponsors, and all that money is put right back into the Run. And we’re going to give it to the firefighters.”

Mitch Riegelhuth presents Station 10 Capt. Brian Donaghy with check – photo by Gina Clugston

Riegelhuth says that a few year back, with all the fires in the area, he started talking with others about the volunteer firefighters (PCFs) having to pay so much out of their own pockets, and that the County doesn’t provide them with everything they need.

“Owning G’ma and Pappa’s gave me a platform I could work from,” he says. “So my partner Lori Brown and I decided we were going to just go ahead and do this.”

On Aug. 19, about 150 riders gathered at the Coarsegold Historic Village for the 2nd Annual “Next Firefighter Up” Poker Run. They set off on a beautiful ride with stops at fire stations in Yosemite Lakes Park, North Fork and Bass Lake, then back to the Village for raffles, prizes, BBQ, live music and an auction.

After expenses, the total for the day was $5,373.69, which was presented to YLP’s Station 10 Captain Brian Donaghy this past Sunday afternoon at the Village.

“We may not be the richest station, and we may not have the newest equipment,” said Capt. Donaghy, “but this will allow us to buy equipment we normally wouldn’t have. This is important for our safety as well as the safety of everyone out there, and it’s people like you who make it possible for us to serve you better.”

Donaghy assured the group that every penny would stay right there at Station 10.

North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary President Sandy Chaille is also very grateful for the efforts of everyone involved in this important fundraiser. Madera County Fire Station 11 was one of the stops on the Run, and auxiliary members were there to serve up drinks and snacks, and help participants fill out their poker hands.

Bikers and NF Auxiliary at Station 11 on Next Firefighter Up Poker Run 2017 – photo by Gina Clugston

“The auxiliary is delighted to be a recipient of the proceeds from the poker run.” said Chaille. “We enjoyed hosting the motorcyclists at Station 11 with refreshments and camaraderie. The donation will allow us to continue to provide necessary equipment to our firefighters, especially in light of the recent fires. We are most appreciative.”

Next year Riegelhuth says they have set a goal to surpass the $20,000 mark for funds raised and donated. Last year the Run raised $6,000.

They also intend to raffle off a Suzuki quad next year, and we will let you know the details and how you can purchase tickets to support our firefighters and perhaps score big on a new ride!

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Sierra News Online

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