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Bikers for Babies

Motorcyclists Gathered at Tysons Corner Oct. 2 for the March of Dimes Ride and Poker Run.

<bt>The 10th annual March of Dimes Ride and Poker run roared out of the parking lot of J. Koons Pontiac-GMC on Chain Bridge Road Sunday morning, Oct. 2. About 150 motorcyclists gathered for a 100-mile morning ride to raise money for the March of Dimes initiative to combat premature birth.

Participants paid $25 to register, and they also gathered sponsorship individually and as groups.

Last year's top-earning rider, Mike McCarroll, explained how it was done. He said he was part of a group sponsorship by Craftsman Auto Body, and, "individually, I collected sponsorship from lowlife friends of mine. And I actually walked into a bar where I didn't know anybody and got $40 sponsorship each from six different people."

The bikers left J. Koons at 10 a.m. and followed a route along the Potomac River, including a crossing at White's Ferry into Maryland before returning to the dealership.

Before they left, they got to draw three cards, and up on their return they drew two more. The holder of the highest hand won a gift certificate to have their car detailed at J. Koons, and the rider with the lowest hand got a toy Harley truck.

Other prizes were raffled off, including Hooters Airline tickets to Myrtle Beach, Hooters wing parties, and gift certificates for Glory Days and Chipolte restaurants.

On hand were about 15 volunteers from Westfield High School in Chantilly, who helped with the setup. They were members of the National Capitol Area chapter of Chain Reaction, a youth group that works to help the March of Dimes.

The youth volunteers were on the scene by 7 a.m., said Chain Reaction mentor Rob Davis, helping to set up tables, the March of Dimes Store, the grill and "anything we needed to make the event happen."

Just before the main event was the Preemie Ride, in which toddlers and small children, most of whom were born prematurely, rode a mini-course in various toy vehicles.

In total, this year's ride raised over $15,000, according to March of Dimes Community Director Tina Solomita. The group raising the most money was the Gold Wing Riders bike club, with $1,100, and the top-earning rider came close to beating them out with $1,050.