GREENVILLE — The Burn Dog poker run started in 2008 when a group of friends wanted to remember a friend, Louis “Burnie” Wimbley Jr., who passed away in a motorcycle accident, and to help his family provide a headstone for his grave.
Since the first year was such a success, they continued to hold this event yearly with the proceeds going to local families. They have helped cancer survivors, accident victims, and children with health problems since birth.
This year the recipient of the proceeds is a family of four from Greenville, the Bailey family. Three of the four are facing medical issues, and dad, Steve Bailey is the sole provider.
His wife, Tracy Bailey, was diagnosed with cancer in October 2013, at the age of 32. Surgeries started in January 2014 with a complete liver resection. Tracy underwent four surgeries in 2014 alone, as they discovered she had liver, lung, and colon tumors. Due to a tumor on her hip bone, she had a total hip replacement in November 2015. She was on maintenance for a year and a half, but recently started harsh foliri treatments, which come in the form of a week on, a week off, for eight rounds to fight her stage IV cancer.
Their daughter, Kaylyn Bailey, was diagnosed with Type 1 childhood diabetes in March 2014 at the age of 8. She has since learned how to give herself shots, prick herself and count carbs. An insulin pump gives her insulin 24/7. Although she had to adjust her eating habits and become accustomed to wearing the insulin pump, she did not give up on the activity she loves the most: softball. She plays fast and slow pitch, including a rec league, All Stars, and Fall Ball at GGSA. Her dad finds time to coach her, because he wants to keep her involved in activities that keep her as “normal” as possible. He is always encouraging and upbeat, enjoying his time on the field with her, as he tries to keep some stability in her life.
Steve and Tracy’s son, Parker Bailey had a seizure in March 2016 at the age of 12. He complained of nothing other than a headache, but began stuttering and had the ‘million-mile stare.’ He went into a full seizure, giving his mom quite a scare as paramedics rushed in. All scans came back normal, but that left them with no explanation of why this happened, or what caused it.
Steve doesn’t miss appointments and the whole family is grateful that his employer, Clopay, is understanding.
According to Tracy, “He’s way too humble. He never takes the praise for what he does for us.” The family is very deserving and selfless, Jesus lovers who would never ask for help, according to locals who nominated them”
In response to monetary donations, donated meals, and prayers, Tracy says, “I never feel like I can truly express our appreciation. Thanks isn’t enough. I never take for granted that people are sacrificing from their families to give to our family. We have met amazing people along this journey who have blessed us beyond measure just by being there for us and offering encouraging words, helping with our kids, feeding us, loving on us, and just caring about us. Cancer is something that affects the entire family, and most of the time I think it’s harder on Steve and the kids than it is on me. We are so used to this life that at this point, what we struggle with everyday just seems ‘normal’. But, we know that we get through each day because we have so many people in our corner supporting us and rooting us on.”
Benjamin and Ashley Hoying, the people behind the Burn Dog Poker Run, have worked to grow this event each year. The poker run will be held Saturday, Sept. 10 at Hot Rods and Harleys, with sign up from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., first bike out at 1. Melissa Vore, from Hot Rods and Harleys will be providing biscuits and gravy before the ride for donations.
The event starts off with a 100-mile ride with stops at Cruizers in Russia, BW3’s in Troy, Creek-Side in Versailles, The Whistle Stop in Ansonia, and BG’s in North Star. Once back to Hot Rods and Harleys, it is more of a family event with door prizes, a 50/50 drawing, raffle, auction, and bike games. Bike games include: loudest pipes competition, burnout contest with one-of-a-kind awards, tandem slalom, slow drags, and team slalom.
The community has pulled together to get this event going this year with donations from local businesses, monetary contributions, and woodworking projects customized for this event. Biker’s Paradise will be there offering motorcycle related apparel and signs. K. Reynolds Photography will be taking photos throughout the day.
“If you are in attendance on Saturday, Sept. 10 you will be the first to hear an exciting announcement about a bike giveaway planned for the 10th annual Burn Dog Poker Run in 2017,” said a spokesperson. “If you wish to contribute to this event, you can do so by donating door prizes, purchasing Burn Dog apparel, or by contacting Ben Hoying at 937-417-9464, or Ashley Hoying at 937-467-1686. You can also find information on the event’s Facebook page, Burn Dog Poker Run.”