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Annual Memorial Poker run proves successful

June 16, 2012
By Melissa Toothman Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

The annual Mikey Hart Memorial Poker Run, held on the second Saturday in June, had stops this year in Junior, Elkins, Buckhannon, Bridgeport and Philippi. The stops were at local fire departments, and the run finished at Veterans of Foreign Wars Park in Belington.

"The (Mikey Hart Memorial) Poker Run was a great success this year, with 200 motorcycles and over 275 riders participating," said organizer Judy Weese, who was married to Hart when he was killed in a vehicle accident on Dec. 20, 2005.

Hart was traveling to Elkins from Huttonsville after he had been teaching a firefighter class with his dad the day of the accident. Hart was a captain at Belington Volunteer Fire Department, a career firefighter at the Elkins Fire Department and a paramedic.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Zachery and Kelsey Hart, children of the late Mikey Hart, stand next to their father’s locker in the Belington Fire Department last Saturday during the Mikey Hart Memorial Poker Run.

Bikers traveled from miles and miles away to participate in the memorial poker run. The award for longest distance traveled went to Henry Simms, who traveled 270 miles from Ohio.

"We took the short way, the seven-hour tour. It was a nice ride," said biker Jim Murphy who traveled from Akron, Ohio. He has competed in the poker run for at least the past four years.

Best hand went to DJ Fragale; worst hand went to William Brady; and unit number hand went to Tammy Kittle.

"Riders were able to enjoy great food, beverages, door prizes, music and poker hand prizes after the ride," Weese said.

In the bike show, best custom bike was awarded to Jedd Schola. Brad Harris won best Harley, Ron Kittle won best metric and Rich Hathaway won judge's choice.

The funds earned through the Memorial Poker Run benefit children through a scholarship in Hart's memory.

"The scholarship is available statewide to any applicants that qualifies," Weese said.

2012 recipients of the scholarship have been named. They are Megan Wetzel and Seth Fitzwater from Philip Barbour High School, Lauren Klusmeier from Hedgesville High School, Joshua Lee from Capon Bridge and Candice Morgan from Fairmont.

Since it was founded in 2008, the scholarship has been awarded to 20 applicants. More information is available by contacting Weese at



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