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Motorcycle run raises money for Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

Motorcylists from several western states gathered Sunday as the Old Pueblo Riders held its sixth annual Run For The Kids.

The motorcycle ride will benefit the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

So far, the motorcycle group has raised almost $8,000, said the motorcycle group’s treasurer, Marla Johnson.

The 70-mile poker run ride, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., took motorcycle enthusiasts from the school at 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., to the Picture Rocks area west of the Tucson Mountains, back across the Northwest Side and southeast to Houghton Road and East Broadway and then generally south to Vail, where the ride ended.

The poker run involves collecting one poker card at each of five stops along the route, Johnson said.

The rider with the highest poker hand at the end of the ride gets a $250 prize and the one with the lowest hand gets a $75 prize, she said.

Among the 387 registered riders was Dawn Kackley, 53, a hospital worker who motorcycled to Tucson from Phoenix on Sunday morning for the Old Pueblo ride.

She said she came here “to support a good cause . . . supporting the deaf and blind schools is very important, supporting the kids is important.”

Craig Schessler, 50, an electronics technician supervisor with Tucson Water, said just before setting off on the ride, “That’s what it’s all about, raising money to support kids.”

Riders also gave short rides to students at the schools.

“I think it’s great, it’s a blast,” said one of those students, 17-year-old Katarina Honyumptewa. “I loved it. I like the air blowing in your face. It’s fun.”

Honyumptewa also said she appreciated the riders as “they come on their weekend to be with us.”

The ride and its results also pleased a dean of students at the schools.

Melodee Deakin, dean of deaf residential students, said of the motorcycle riders, “They’re great.”

Deakin said the money the rides generate “buys things that the state doesn’t cover,” such as camping equipment and braille books.

The money also has been used to buy satellite TV, which, for the visually impaired, is clearer than other television systems.

Old Pueblo President Ron Johnson, 55, Marla Johnson’s husband, said that over the last five years the group has raised $40,000 for the schools.

This year, Ron Johnson said, the ride drew motorcyclists from around Arizona and from California, Nevada and New Mexico.

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