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Connellsville police plan annual poker ride

Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
The Connellsville Police Officers Association’s Bicycle Poker Ride will be held on June 23. Making plans for the event are (from left) Bikes Unlimited employee John Basinger, Officer Thomas Patton, Bikes Unlimited owner Ruth Stout and Officer Andy Hominsky.

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By Nancy Henry
Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 6:39 p.m.

The Connellsville Police Officers Association will hold its traditional Bicycle Poker Ride on June 23 in Yough River Park in Connellsville.

“This is an annual event,” said Andy Hominsky, secretary/treasurer of CPOA. “We appreciate the fact that Bikes Unlimited is always so generous to the CPOA Bicycle Poker Ride. Shallenberger Construction has also given a substantial donation to our event and we thank them for that.”

The 10-mile ride begins at 1 p.m. and has two routes to appeal to all individuals wishing to participate.

The more challenging, 10-mile ride will be through the city's streets. The other is a scenic route, geared toward families, which winds along the Youghiogheny River via the bike trail.

There will be water stops at various locations along each route. Participants will obtain playing cards at each water stop.

The event starts and ends in Yough River Park.

Trophies will be awarded to individuals in four classes for the best five-card poker hands obtained during the ride. All individuals entering the ride will receive a chance to win various prizes donated from businesses in and around the Connellsville area. These tickets give each entrant an opportunity to win a grand prize of a new bicycle. Two bicycles will be given away at the event — a 20-inch BMX and a Trek Mountain Bike. Bikes Unlimited donates a bike each year.

Refreshments will be provided to all entrants following the event, and each rider will be given a CPOA long-sleeved T-shirt commemorating the ride.

All riders are encouraged to wear helmets, and as a reminder, all entrants younger than 12 are required to wear a helmet.

This event supports the various opportunities the CPOA makes available to the community. Each year, the association awards cash scholarships to seniors graduating from Connellsville Area High School.

“We use the proceeds from the Bicycle Poker Run for our scholarship fund,” said Chief Jim Capitos. “We give a scholarship to a high school graduate who is majoring in law or law enforcement-related studies. We do not keep any of the monies raised. We have a few applicants each year, and we've been doing it for over 30 years.

“We were the originators of organized bike rides in Connellsville, even before the bike trail. It is not a race,” he noted.

CPOA funds various community projects, such as safety presentations, child finger-printing programs, drug awareness programs and bicycle safety programs, and sponsors a School Patrol trip to recognize those youths involved with the program.

“This year, we took local elementary students to Hershey Park,” Hominsky said.

Registration for the Poker Ride will begin at noon. Applications can be picked up at Bikes Unlimited or at the Connellsville Police Department. Early entrants receive a $5 discount; early registration is $15; on the day of the event, it will be $20.

“This is an event for the entire family. Come join the fun,” Hominsky said.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer for the Daily Courier.

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