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Annual bike run fundraiser benefits wildlife

PHOENIX — It’s time once again to get your motor running and head down the highway to support sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, and those used for education outreach, during the 12th annual Bikers Soar for Wildlife Poker Run, which begins at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 19.

Along the 100-mile scenic ride, participants of the family friendly event will be treated to some of the Valley’s best scenic views, while supporting the care and rehabilitation of animals at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center.

“Funds raised by this event are essential to the operation of the Wildlife Center,” AZGFD Wildlife Education Program Manager Mike Demlong said. “We have always relied on the success of this event and participants to help provide the funding needed to care for wild animals in our care and to offer wildlife education programs throughout the state. Plus, this family friendly event provides the perfect outlet for everyone to see live wildlife up close, hear some music and just have fun.”

The ride begins at 9:30 a.m. at Arrowhead Harley Davidson at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountains Center Drive in Peoria and ends at the iconic Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse at 6823 E. Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek.

Throughout the route, riders will stop at designated locations to pull a playing card, with the high and low hands of five cards winning a prize at the end of the ride. Poker run players must be 21 years old, but participation is not required. Non-bikers are allowed to participate in the event.

The tax-deductible cost to participate is $25 per rider or $35 per rider and passenger for those who register before Feb. 5. The registration fee increases to $30 per rider or $40 per rider and passenger after Feb. 5. Lunch is included in the fee.

The first 300 registrants will receive a free event T-shirt and ride pin. Registration at the event begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit the Wildlife Center’s volunteer auxiliary website at www.azwildlifecenter.net or call (623) 277-6926.

Founded in May 1983, the department’s Adobe Wildlife Center treats sick, injured and orphaned animals, and provides wildlife education to local schools and community events. The center’s mission is carried out with a small budget from the state’s Heritage Fund and public donations, making fundraising by the Auxiliary an important contributor to the care of the animals.