polar bear poker run

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COLUMBIA- Mid America Harley-Davidson held its annual Polar Bear Poker Run Saturday and all net proceeds raised went to Autism Speaks. 

Autism Speaks is an organization dedicated to advocating for and supporting individuals on the spectrum. The group works to promote inclusion while researching causes and interventions for autism. 

Pete Walker, a Sales Manager at Harley Davidson, said the dealership tries to do monthly events that benefit an organization, but cold weather makes increased involvement a tough sell.

"With it being January, people are probably going to try to avoid the riding," Walker said. "I think we'll see more people come in later in the day, happy to be a part of the poker run, but didn't want to participate in the ride."

Charles Forbis participated in the event with his girlfriend. He said he works often and doesn't pass up any chance to go for a ride, regardless of the weather.

"Any day you can ride is a good day," Forbis said. "I enjoy riding no matter how cold it is outside and it's a good cause for autism."

Riders made four stops during the day, beginning at 11 a.m. with registration and a complimentary breakfast at Truman's Bar and Grill. Bikers pick up $20 poker cards at each stop, with the option to buy an additional hand for $10 and $5 raffle tickets.

The riders ended the day at Mid America Harley-Davidson for dinner, live music and one last chance to purchase cards or raffle tickets before prizes were announced.

Walker said he hopes to see a result of $1,000 or more raised at the conclusion of the event, but said every dollar they can raise will benefit the cause.

"We're making a lot of changes inside the store, changes to how we do things and how we take care of our customers," Walker said. "At the end of the day, the more customers we get in here, the more opportunity we're going to have for people to support events like Autism Speaks."