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Vroom for the boom

LAKE WYLIE -- Once summer rolls around, the rubber hits the road on fundraising efforts for Lake Wylie's Fourth of July fireworks show.

"We're making headway," said fireworks fund event organizer Bill Markolf, "but we always need help."

Markolf and a group of about 20 other Lake Wylie businessmen began holding events for the fireworks show following the 2008 celebration, including social fundraisers and other events. On Saturday, the group plans to hold its final poker run before the July 4 show.

"We're hoping to raise $5,000 this time," Markolf said. "It ought to be a big deal. We had 150 riders last year, and we're expecting 300 this year."

Ken Ponder, organizer of the run along with Mad Dog Custom Cycles, plans a six-stop run at locations in Lake Wylie, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and York. The event begins at Mad Dog, 4582 Charlotte Hwy., with bikes leaving 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Following card stops at Garden Cafe in York, End Zone and Ponderosa in Rock Hill and Flamingos Food & Spirits in Fort Mill, the run returns to The Knothole, 4070 Charlotte Hwy., Lake Wylie.

Hands cost $20 for the first set of five cards, $10 after that. A total of $500 in prizes will be awarded, including $300 for best hand. A 50-50 raffle will be held, and non-bikers are welcome at The Knothole.

In fact, organizers hope more than just bikers will support the cause.

"We are so grateful for the support of the Lake Wylie businesses and individuals who make the fireworks show a success each year," said Andy Kane, vice president of camping services for show host Camp Thunderbird. "We urge everyone who enjoys the fireworks to make a contribution."

Three Lake Wylie locations --Lake Wylie Liquor, Pier 88 and T-Bones on the Lake -- are selling T-shirts. The first batch of 300 shirts sold out at $10 each, with another 300 ordered to replace them. The annual show costs more than $20,000.

For more information about the poker run, call 803-831-0303 or visit bikerornot.com or lets-ride.com. To donate directly to the fireworks fund, mail a check marked Lake Wylie Fireworks Fund to One Thunderbird Lane, Lake Wylie, SC 29710.

Another run Saturday

The Coffee House Poker Run, 4937 Charlotte Hwy., Lake Wylie, begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with all bikes out by 10 a.m. An all-day ride travels 190 miles through the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock areas, ending with live music at the coffee house. Bands include The Shrubs at 5 p.m. and John Biggers at 6:30 p.m. Food will be served at 5 p.m., followed by drawings at 6 p.m. Cost is $20 per hand. Proceeds benefit The "I'm a Kool Kid" Foundation. For more information, call 803-656-5700 or visit lakewyliecoffeehouse.com.

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