Poker Run Benefits Pillars

 

BY ERICA CHIPPERFIELD

Alliance Times-Herald

 

A poker run to benefit the Pillars for the Park project was held on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Former Alliance resident Jay Weisgerber, organized the event. This is a project is near and dear to his heart after growing up in Alliance and being a life long friend of Tami Swearingen, lead chairman of the project.

Jay was on the park board when the original pillars were torn down due to crumbling conditions. Swearingen, is working with Alliance Park Foundation and the City of Alliance on the project. The poker run began at the Alliance Eagles Club #136 at 10 a.m., over 50 participants departed from the parking lot in route to the first stop of Hyannis, then on to Arthur, Lewellen, Bridgeport, and then back to the Alliance for a chicken fried steak dinner with all the fixings.

Several Alliance Clubs participated in the run, including ABATE and the Route 385 Cruisers, as well as many individuals who were looking for a good time for a great cause. Unfortunately one participant had his vehicle break down just outside of town and he completed the run with another player and his car was retrieved after the run was over.

At each stop a hand of poker was played at the cost of $25 per hand. It took several hours to complete all of the stops and after hands were tallied three winners were chosen.

In first place, for the best hand was Amber Craig winning with a hand three kings, second place went to Calvin Cox, with a hand of three tens, and third place for the worst hand, went to Randy Craig. Bob Hardy of Chadron, made a donation after the poker run, of a limited edition print called, “Sons of the Plains”, by J.F. Plickey, to be auctioned off to benefit the pillars. Over $1000 was raised by the event, and so far roughly $120,000 has been raised in total, to one day restore the sunken gardens at the city park to their former grandeur, and make it historically accurate.

Thank you to Jay Weisgerber, love you dear friend, for supporting the pillars and coming up with what was a beautiful ride through the Sandhills. Thank you to the Eagles for always being there for us. And to the people that participated...you are amazing. Chery and Lerick for helping put it together. Rhonda thanks for help getting everyone registered. Kathy for coming to Hyannis, Bob for coming and bringing us the beautiful buffalo print we will be auctioning,” said Swearingen.

The poker run was a major success. An anonymous donor has pledged $250,000 to be donated after the first $250,00 has been raised.

The final cost for the completed project is estimated to be around $500,000 but the final cost will not be known until after a bid for an engineer is accepted. Individuals or businesses can raise a pillar in their honor or in memory of someone for the cost of $1000 each.

At this time there are just a few pillars left to be sponsored. The group has a Facebook page, Alliance Pillars for the Park!, that provides up to date information on just how much has been donated so far.

Efforts to restore the sunken gardens began in June of 2017. There are several fundraising events scheduled for later this year, including a Paint and Sip on June 6, 2019 at the Alliance Eagles Club #136 and a County Carnival on June 29, 2019 hosted at the Wells Ranch.

Mail your donations to Tami Swearingen, 1243 Grand Ave., Alliance, NE 69301. Please make sure to make your check out to the Alliance Park Foundation. If you have any questions or would like a pledge card sent to you please contact Tami at (308) 760-4929.