Sunflower Diversified hosts annual poker run; seeks sponsorships

The Ride for Independence Poker Run itinerary has been mapped out, with the safety and well-being of participants in mind, said Connie Oetken, director of development at Sunflower Diversified Services.

Sunflower, which serves children and adults with special needs, hosts the poker run.

The fourth annual event is set for Saturday, Aug. 8 when motorcycles and other vehicles will travel the poker-run route.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Sterling Lake Park, East Van Buren Street in Sterling.

Kickstands go up at 10:30 a.m.

All proceeds are earmarked for Sunflower’s Beautiful Minds Art Studio where Sunflower clients express their creative side.

The stops for poker-hand cards are: Wolf Hotel, Main & Santa Fe, Ellinwood; Stafford City Pool, 400 W. Broadway, Stafford; and Squeaks, 414 Broadway, St. John.

The final destination is Veterans Memorial Park, 17th & McKinley, Great Bend, which is the site of the annual Party in the Park festivities.

All vehicles will be at the park by 2 p.m.

“Because of the pandemic, we talked with city officials in Sunflower’s service area before deciding on our route,” Oetken said.

“Everyone was happy to help and we think this is a good plan.

Even at Squeaks, participants can be outside.”

The cost for a rider or driver is $20; passengers are $10.

There is a $10 fee for an extra poker hand.

Prizes include $150 for the best poker hand; $75 for the second best; and $50 for the worst hand.

“Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact us as soon as possible,” Oetken said.

“This is a great way to raise much-needed funds for our art studio and enjoy a fun day in the process.

“We also would appreciate sponsorships to help us with expenses.

The adults and children we serve at Sunflower always appreciate the generosity of central Kansas residents.”

Oetken emphasized that Sunflower is grateful to the city of Great Bend for its willingness to welcome riders at Party in the Park.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” she said. “It is so gratifying to have support from the public and local government.”

Christina Hayes, Great Bend community coordinator, said “Sunflower is such a fun addition to this year’s Party in the Park.

Participants will be curious about all the motorcycles and the riders can expect a good time.

“All this leads to more awareness about Sunflower and its many services. We welcome the riders and Sunflower to our summer celebration.”

For more information or to register early, call 620-792-1325. Online registration is available at

Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults with intellectual disabilities and delays in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 54th year.

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