Poker hands get campers closer to Victory Junction

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

It's not often that people play poker for a good cause, but a few dozen motorcyclcists are expected to do just that in Sanford this Saturday.

Starting at 10 a.m., the community — and especially motorcycle riders — are invited out to the Kangaroo on Horner Boulevard, near the intersection with Bragg and Dalrymple streets, to participate in a poker run and other activities to help raise money for Victory Junction, a year-round camp for children ages 6 to 16 with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.

People interested in participating in the poker run can get their first card at the store for $5, then take a scenic drive to the next locations — the Jordan Lake dam followed by the Avent's Ferry boat ramp — before returning to the store to pick up their final two cards. Gift cards will then be awarded to the person with the best and worst hands.

"To pay 5 dollars a hand for a sheet to ride, that's going to a good cause, that's just great," Christine Pellum, store manager of the Kangaroo hosting the event and an avid biker herself, said. She added, "It's about a 45-minute ride. I got on my bike the other day and rode it myself."

Pellum said she's expecting about 50 bikers to participate in the run, as well as many other community members to stay at the store for activities including a karaoke contest, bouncy castles, a hula hoop contest, one or more people getting pied in the face, raffles, giveaways, line dancing, games of cornhole, a silent auction and more — all of which will go toward helping the camp.

Victory Junction was founded by former NASCAR racer Kyle Petty and his wife in honor of their late son, Adam. Located in Petty's hometown of Randleman, N.C., the camp is set alongside a lake about midway between Siler City and High Point. There are outdoor activities like fishing, horseback riding, a tree house, mini golf, a climbing wall, canoes and kayaks; indoor activities include a racing simulator, bowling, arts and crafts, a computer lab, a swimming pool and sporting events held in a domed stadium. A visit runs $2,500 per child, although donations raised through events like the one Saturday help thousands of kids go for free.

The camp has many private and corporate sponsors, and last year Kangaroo alone raised more than $1 million to let about 400 children attend the camp for free. The camp, which began in 2004, also gets visits from racing celebrities, and in 2006, then-President George W. Bush spent time with campers.