Fiasco Brothers Motorcycle Club thunders in with a successful Poker Run

VERO BEACH — With a thunderous rumble, approximately 275 riders roared into the Elk’s Lodge parking lot to participate in the 13th Annual Fiasco Brothers Motorcycle Club Poker Run to benefit the Homeless Family Center. 

Another 100 members of clubs, from as far away as Miami, rode up later in the afternoon to join them for the after party. A core group of friends established the Vero Beach based Fiasco Brothers in 1994 and they’ve been supporting the community through charitable contributions ever since to organizations including the Red Cross, Abilities Resource Center, SafeSpace, Safe Kids of Florida, and CASTLE.

Its good natured members enjoy playing on their fiasco theme; even their black leather vests are ornamented with a flat tire, a broken wrench and broken bike parts.

“They were a group of guys who enjoyed riding together, but each time they went out something went wrong. They said, “Good God, what a fiasco,” and the name stuck,” explained Marie Wygonik Blanchard, a Program Specialist at the Department of Health.  Her husband Kendall Blanchard, a county surveyor, is the club’s president.

This was the third year that the club chose the Homeless Family Center as its beneficiary and, in addition to funds raised from entry fees, raffle tickets and a 50/50 drawing, participants also brought copious amounts of donated toiletry and paper products for use at the Center.

Bikes roared off at 10 a.m. with riders mapping out their own route to the six indicated locations, from Wabasso to Ft. Pierce.  At each stop, they drew one card from a sack which was then marked on their scorecard. The best five cards made up their poker hand and trophies were given at the end for the two top hands and the worst hand.

“It’s purely random,” said Marie Blanchard of the cards.  “To keep it honest, members of the Christian Motorcycle Club are the scorekeepers. Kendall says if someone complains, it’s in God’s hands.”

All types of bikes, from choppers and sport bikes, to touring bikes and trikes were ridden in.

“A lot of senior riders still want to get the wind experience, but these bikes are heavy, so they go to three-wheels,” explained “Gentleman Joe” Perry about the trikes.  “We’ve got one 70-year-old who rides a trike and puts in more miles than any of us.”

“There are people from all walks of life doing this; the best thing is being part of the motorcycle club community,” said Perry, owner of TLC Pre-School in Sebastian.  “With Fiasco, family and work always come before anything else.”

As the last bikes pulled into the parking lot later in the afternoon, participants gathered to party with a BBQ lunch while listening to the band Spare Change.  In honor of veterans, members of the U.S. Military Vets shot off a 21-gun salute and the Leathernecks Club presented a check to the VFW.

“We’ve been supporting charities for years, but it’s hard for a motorcycle club to get the community to take them seriously,” said Blanchard.  “My grandmother rode her own motorcycle in 1921.  She and my grandfather rode year-round, my father rode and my uncle rode.  I come by this naturally; it’s in the blood.” {igallery 397}

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