Salute to Veterans Car & Motorcycle Poker Run set for August 14
There’s a silver lining to every pandemic, it seems.
In Tualatin, it means that local residents will have a golden opportunity to view some of the state’s most unique classic cars and help some of the most vulnerable people in our society at the same time.
The 2021 Salute to Veterans Car and Motorcycle Poker Run will be held on Saturday, Aug. 14, beginning at the SoCal Northwest Speed Shop in Tualatin and ending at the Golden Valley Brewery in Beaverton. Those who take part will not only be able to check out some beautiful rides they will also be able to help military veterans who have fallen on hard times or are having trouble securing health care and other services.
Show organizer Lynn Kirwan has been organizing the Salute to Veterans Car Show for the past 10 years. She said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event’s home at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro could only be used for events with 300 people or fewer in attendance. That’s a big problem for an event that normally draws several thousand people.
“It would have been a huge show, I’m sure,” Kirwan said. “There wasn’t anything else going on. But I knew in March this year that nothing was going to happen.”
Instead of giving up, Kirwan decided to work with local businesses and hold a poker run instead. She eventually connected with SoCal Northwest Speed Shop, a Tualatin shop specializing in hot rod parts and restorations. They offered to serve as the starting point.
“Between the hot rod side of it, you throw the veterans into it and that’s where it all plays out,” said SoCal Northwest employee James Jeffery, himself a U.S. Navy veteran.
The event starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14, when hundreds of cars and motorcycles will start arriving at SoCal Northwest. Cyclists head out around 9:30 a.m., cars around 10. They will travel to McMinnville with poker run stops along the way before returning to the Golden Valley Brewery. Motorcycle riders will have an extra stop on their way back at event sponsor Threat Dynamics, the indoor shooting range off Tualatin-Sherwood Road.
“They (Threat Dynamics) have been terrific,” Kirwan said. “They’re only a mile and a half from SoCal, so our motorcycles are going to use that as their fourth stop.”
Money raised will be donated to Veterans Village, a tiny house community for formerly homeless veterans, and the Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. The event has raised nearly $250,000 for these and similar programs over the past decade. Aside from fundraising, however, the primary goal is just to have fun.
“The main thing is the car guys and motorcycle guys and gals can shine up their vehicles and get them out,” Kirwan said. “A lot of them know each other, so the idea is to get them out, see their old friends and have something to do.”
Kirwan said the event has already raised over $10,000 through registrations and donations, and she has increased her fundraising goal to $15,000.
“We might make it,” she said. “I’m praying we make it.”
The public is welcome to see the vehicles at any of the poker run stops, starting at 8 a.m. at SoCal Northwest Speed Shop at 19705 S.W Teton Avenue in Tualatin, and ending at Golden Valley Brewery at 1520 N.W. Bethany Blvd. in Beaverton, from roughly 1 to 3 p.m.
For more information visit saluteveteransshow.com.