WELLSBURG - More than 100 motorcycle riders traveled around the Tri-State Area Saturday in an effort to raise money for two local charitable organizations.
The fourth-annual Ride for a Reason poker run was held Saturday, bringing together people from all over the Ohio Valley who gathered at the Wellsburg Fire Hall. The yearly ride, organized by the Red Knights West Virginia Chapter VI motorcycle club, benefits the club's Victims of Fire Fund and Coats for Kids.
The Victims of Fire fund, founded by the Red Knights, helps families who suffer losses from fires by providing them with basic living essentials including food, clothing, a place to stay and assistance with funeral expenses in some cases.
Since 1993, the Coats for Kids campaign has provided hundreds of new winter coats for needy children throughout the area. In 2011, more than 600 coats were purchased for those in need. Coats for Kids is put on through the efforts of the Salvation Army and WTOV-TV9.
Red Knights Treasurer Fred Marsh said the ride received a great response this year, with an increase in the number of participants signing up ahead of time.
"It's the biggest pre-registration in the last four years," Marsh said.
Motorcycle riders from throughout the Tri-State Area traveled around the region Saturday as part of the fourth-annual Ride for a Reason poker run. The ride is organized by members of the Red Knights West Virginia Chapter VI. -- Craig Howell
Approximately 102 motorcycles, and a handful of cars registered to travel the route this year.
Kelly Camarote, reporter from WTOV, explained since the 2011 Ride for a Reason, $5,856 has been distributed to local fire victims in many Ohio Valley communities, including Weirton, Steubenville, Follansbee and Lawrenceville.
In addition, $3,200 was raised for the Coats for Kids.
"I hope you understand how important your support is," she said.
Camarote was participating in her second Ride for a Reason event this year.
Weirton Ward 2 Councilman Chuck Wright also was on hand, saying he has seen, firsthand, the benefits of the ride as some of his constituents have received assistance from the Red Knights.
"The Red Knights do a fantastic job," Wright said.
Wright said he often hears people complain about things in the Ohio Valley, but events such as the Ride for a Reason show there are residents willing to help out.
"You've got a lot of kind, generous people here," he added.
Participants left Wellsburg at noon, traveling first to the Canton Township Volunteer Fire Department near Washington, Pa., then to the White Stallion in Chester and Manfred's in Steubenville before returning to Wellsburg for dinner.
Following dinner, riders were treated to a concert by musical group Refugee.
(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes, and followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)