Police departments from across Indiana will join residents and motorcycle riders for the annual Trooper Bartram Poker Run Memorial Ride on July 8.
The event is held in the memory of Indiana State Trooper Pat Bartram who was killed in the line of duty in 1998. Proceeds go to the Trooper Bartram Memorial Foundation for its Christmas for Kids event. Last year 224 children were able to shop with police officers and state troopers for items they need at Christmas time, due to donations from this fundraiser.
“To see those kids faces at Christmas is amazing,” said Kimberly (Bartram) Van Jelgerhuis, organizer and sister of Pat Bartram. “That’s what it’’s all about, is watching those little faces light up. It keeps the memory alive of fallen officers, whether it be my brother, or we try to recognize the lives of all fallen officers.”
The fundraiser changed this year from an escorted ride to a poker run so that motorcyclists can take their time at each stop. Riders can receive discounts at each participating business. The ride begins at Southside Harley Davidson, 4930 Southport Crossing Pl., Indianapolis and ends at the American Legion Post 9091 E. 126th St., Fishers. The cost is $35 for a double rider, $20 for a single rider. Those interested can also join after the ride – 1 to 1:30 p.m. – for a dinner, auction live music by the Big Ass Ham Band, and more at the Legion. Donations to the cause are tax deductible.
“We have a handful or so of people that just come because its for the kids,” Jelgerhuis said. “We have a group come every year because somehow my brother touched their lives or they grew up together. It’s nice to see the people come out and share stories about my brother, things I didn’t know. I knew he was special in my life but I didn’t realize how special he was to so many. In his short life, he touched a lot of lives.”
Last year’s fundraiser had 97 riders, so Jelgerhuis said they’re trying to exceed 100 this year.
Southport Police Chief Thomas Vaughn joins the ride each year. At Christmas for Kids, the Southport Police Department brings most of its officers – 35 last year – along with about 25 kids to shop with.
“They reached out to us to send officers to shop,” he said. “That’s one of the best events we do every year. It’s always fun to hang out with the kids all day. The ride is a lot of fun because you’re not in a big hurry. Some people have been in the ride since it started. You see them once a year. Once we finish up, you just hang out and catch up (on what happened) over the last year. We’ve met a lot of nice people since we’ve been involved in that.”
For more information, visit bartrammemorial.com.