Riders pumped up their tires and hit the streets of Brigantine Saturday afternoon to show their support for law enforcement around the country as part of the second annual Poker Run from the Brigantine Police Unity Tour Team.
"Lots of support for law enforcement that risk their lives every day for the citizens. We can do what we can and this is what we do," said participant Linda Camerota.
Riders stop at locations around the island to collect playing cards and whoever has the best hand at the end of the day is crowned the winner.
All of the funds raised go to the Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers around the country, and this year, the run took on a new special meaning as it was formally dedicated in memory of Sgt. Stephen w. Beecher, who passed away from cancer back in February.
"Its very special and Stephen will be looking down right being very honored to see that this ride was named after him and his memory," said Police Unity Tour Founder and CEO, Patrick Monturoe.
Sgt. Beecher worked in Florham Park, New Jersey, but it was upon his retirement to Brigantine that a special bond with local law enforcement was created.
"We immediately created a bond just through law enforcement and participation in the Police Unity Tour so after his passing in 2013, we thought it would be fitting if we could incorporate his memory as part of our fundraising events," said Detective Steven Ward of the Brigantine Police Department.
Officials say participation in this years poker run increased more than fifty percent from last year. And even during the fun and winning hands throughout the afternoon, the much deeper message of the day was not lost on riders.
"This is in honor of Steve Beecher, a friend of mine from North Jersey and he was so dedicated to the law enforcement community,” said participant Kat Madaras.
“And a way to thank him is to come out and ride and support the police everywhere we go."
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