LAKE WYLIE -- Roaring motorcycles, poker hands, the open road and -- coffee?
Phil Huffman and Kathleen Biseli, owners of Dilworth Coffee House in Lake Wylie, plan to bring them all together June 28 during the first Coffee House Poker Run. Oh, and they're throwing charity into the mix, too.
"I've never heard of it," Huffman said of the idea of a poker run hosted by a coffee house. "I thought it would be a good idea."
Huffman, who celebrated one year owning Dilworth just last week, decided to host the event for bikers like himself who enjoy a good ride for a good cause. Proceeds from the event will go to The I'm a Kool Kid Foundation, a Fort Mill-based nonprofit helping children with life-threatening illness.
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Huffman also hopes to host a similar event in August, possibly for Locks of Love, and to make the early summer run an annual event.
But while mixing cream in lattes or caramel in frappachinos is old hat for the folks at Dilworth, even Huffman isn't sure if mixing the coffee culture and motorcycle crowd will work.
"I'm hoping so," he said.
Poker runs usually involve motorcyclists traveling from location to location -- typically restaurants, stores or watering holes -- to receive a playing card. At the end of the run, the biker with the best poker hand wins.
The stops on the Coffee House run are spread along 110 miles of North Carolina small towns and backroads at coffee shops in Waxhaw, Indian Trail, Harrisburg and Mount Holly. The event begins and ends at Dilworth.
"It's going to be a good, safe ride," Huffman said.
Because the ride hits coffee houses and not bars or restaurants, alcohol will not be a concern, Huffman said. Instead, coffee shops will have pastries, ice drinks and, of course, coffee. Once back at Dilworth, bikers will be treated to free hot dogs and live jazz music with The Shrubs.
The first bikes will leave at 6:30 a.m. from Dilworth, with the last bikes out at 10 a.m. Festivities should kick back into gear at the coffee shop with riders returning at noon.
"If you do really good you're going to get a prize, or if you do really bad you're going to get a prize," Huffman said.
The real winner, however, should be Kool Kid Foundation.
"Our foundation consists of all volunteers, so any money that comes in, 100 percent of it serves the local community," said Melanie Conger, executive director and co-founder of the group.
The foundation that turns 10 years old in August provides "treasure chests" at three local hospitals in Rock Hill and Charlotte, and is even expanding programs to hospitals at Duke and the University of North Carolina. The treasure chests are filled with toys and surprises for children battling life-threatening illness, while volunteers also spend time with the children.
For Conger, who lives in Lake Wylie, the poker run is particularly sweet.
"That's one of the neat things about the coffee house event," she said. "We're all from Lake Wylie. It's certainly going to benefit children throughout our community."
Huffman does not know whether to expect 20 people or 500 for the first event as bike shops throughout Charlotte and Rock Hill have fliers advertising it. As the lead rider, Huffman hopes bikers will follow him in making the event a success.
"Kick the kickstands up and let's go," he said.
Want to go? The Coffee House Poker Run begins at 6:30 a.m. June 28 at Dilworth Coffee House, 4937 Charlotte Hwy., Lake Wylie. Cost is $10 per poker hand, with proceeds benefitting The I'm A Kool Kid Foundation. Registration is available online at lakewyliecoffeehouse.com. For more information on I'm a Kool Kid, visit imakoolkid.org.