EL CENTRO – The El Centro Brush Dawgs Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club held its Fourth Annual Fallen Officers’ Memorial Poker Run Saturday morning. The motorcycle club is comprised of current and retired border patrol agents and all proceeds from the ride go to support families of agents who have died in the line of duty. The event began at 8 a.m. and ran into the afternoon, culminating with lunch, raffles, and fun at the finish line.
The Poker Run is essentially a prearranged ride and is open to anyone in the community who would like to participate, according to Michael Gibson, National President of the Brush Dawgs Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club (LEMC). Participants are typically motorcyclists, but Gibson, who is also El Centro Chapter president, said, “Anyone can join in. Vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles are all welcome.”
Gibson is co-founder of the national club, one of fifteen men who organized the club after gathering together in Tucson in 2009, and deciding they would like to do what they could to support their fellow agents. After having a classmate die in service shortly after graduating together from the Border Patrol Academy, Gibson said he was inspired to honor his friend.
“Nobody seemed to be doing much for the Border Patrol.” Gibson remarked, after realizing there were many fundraisers for other agencies.
What began as a small group of 15 border patrol agents with a cause, has grown into an official 501C-3 non- profit, charitable organization. The original founders are now known as the “First Fifteen.” Although the event can be cumbersome to organize, Gibson said it is “worth every bit to give a check to that family.” He recognizes that for most families, the fallen officer was the main breadwinner in the family, and this a way that they can give back and help families through their loss. “They gave their life in service to their country,” Gibson stated. “We love doing it and putting it on.”
The club expected to have about 100 motorcyclists participate in the event. The run began at Imperial Valley Cycle Center in El Centro. Coyne Powersports Group hosted the bikers, who were served breakfast burritos, soda, water, and coffee. Josh Marquez, sales manager at Imperial Valley Cycle Center said, “It’s great having them here. We love helping them out – we love helping the people in our community.”
From there, the participants headed to Jacumba Spa and Resort in Jacumba, then traveled to Dogwood Bar and Grill in El Centro, to the CB Stop in Calexico, and finished off the ride at Hot Rods & Beer in Holtville.
Flyers will be posted in the coming months to advertise next year’s ride, taking place in late March or early April. The club makes the effort to plan the event around other community activities, and welcomes more participants. Registration is on-site, and is currently $30 per person.