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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Hillbilly’s Poker Run fundraiser Saturday

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The 10th Annual Hillbilly's Poker Run is set for Saturday, Sept. 21.

A fundraiser for charities, the event is in memory of the late Garry "Hillbilly" Thurman.

Proceeds this year will benefit the American Cancer Society, Carilion Pediatric Hematology Oncology Clinic and Franklin County Planned Pethood/Humane Society.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Collinsville Printing, Patriot Center, 79 Beaver Creek Drive (off King's Mountain Road), Martinsville, with the run starting at 10:30 a.m. The run ends at 8141 Snow Creek Road with a barbecue lunch.

Entry fee is $15 for a poker hand and BBQ meal; $5 for each hand added; $10 for meal only; and $10 to $12 for Hillbilly T-shirts.

Rain date is Sept. 28.

For more information call 540-576-2685 or 540-483-9234. Visit online at

Here is the history of the run from the website:

After Garry's diagnosis with esophageal cancer in March of 2004, his family and friends were all ready to support him any way they could. He went through aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments and faced them with his usual sense of humor and positive attitude.

His friends and co-workers at Goodyear in Danville, where he had worked for 26 years, all wanted to do something for him, and a poker run seemed a natural fit. Garry loved to ride and his happiest times were spent on his Harley.

His nickname at work was Hillbilly and thus Hillbilly's Poker Run was born. It was suggested that we have a tee-shirt and family friend Dean Doyle drew the "Hillbilly Pig."

The first ride was held on Oct. 2, 2004 with 50 motorcycles and antique cars and trucks. The ride ended at Garry and Donna's home with a barbecue meal. We raised $6,535 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and what was to be a one-time event became an annual one.

As the ride continued so did Garry's battle with cancer, and on April 20, 2007, cancer took Garry's life.

We continue the ride as a tribute to him and to keep his memory alive. It is a labor of love for those involved in planning and putting on this event.

We have sold 4,600 t-shirts and raised $51,200 since its beginning.

Until 2008, all money raised was donated to the American Cancer Society. The decision was made to divide the money, and Garry's love for children made Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital a natural choice.

On Oct. 15, 2008 we presented the Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Department a check for half the money we raised, $7,000. We all felt Garry's presence that day, and knew he was smiling down on us.

The ride is held the third Saturday in September, and participation grows every year. Goodyear employees continue to be a huge part of the success of this event. Many of the riders are from Goodyear, and half of the t-shirts are sold at Goodyear.

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