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Sixth annual bicycle poker run kicks off PBA's busy October

The Brigantine Police Benevolent Association has three events slated for this month, starting 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, with the sixth annual PBA Bicycle Poker Run.

All bicyclists are welcome to participate for a $20 donation. The ride originates at the Brigantine Police Department, 14th Street and Brigantine Avenue, and makes several stops at local establishments and civic organizations along the way, among them the VFW, American Legion and Elks lodge. Prizes are given out along the route. Riders collect playing cards at each stop, and the rider with the winning hand takes home the vaunted PBA Poker Run trophy.

Police Unity Tour

The event supports Team Brigantine — a group of bicyclists who will join several other teams as part of the Police Unity Tour, scheduled for May 9-12, 2019. The tour travels from Florham Park to Washington, D.C., over four days and has raised more than $23 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Museum since its 1997 northern New Jersey founding.

Team Brigantine also supports Law Enforcement United, which is an organization that provides financial assistance to the families and children of law-enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. Law Enforcement United stages its own ride called the Road To Hope that travels from Roanoke, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., from May 10-12, meeting up with riders from the Police Unity Tour.

Brigantine PBA President Rich DeLeon, a member of the Brigantine Police Department since 2001, co-created Team Brigantine in 2010, and established the poker run in 2013. Team Brigantine has had a presence in the Police Unity Tour throughout its nine-year history, beginning with just two officers — DeLeon and Jack Glasser — and growing to as many as 12, including past members of the Egg Harbor Township, Richard Stockton University and Ventnor City police departments, and the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office. This year Robert Delarosby of the Federal Air Marshal Service is Team Brigantine's captain. The 2018-19 team also includes Steve Ward Sr., a retired officer with the Pitman Police Department.

“This is the ninth year we've ridden and the sixth year for the poker run, which has been mutually beneficial for both us and the places where we stop,” said DeLeon, who will serve as a motorcycle escort this coming spring for the bicyclists of the Police Unity Tour. “It not only helps us raise money for the tour, it helps give these places a little boost during an otherwise slow time of the year.”

Benefit for the Blue

The second annual Benefit for the Blue returns to St. George's Pub 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, to support the Brigantine PBA's charitable efforts. For $20, guests get a food buffet and live entertainment by country singer-songwriter Kevin Dale. There will also be basket auctions, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes.

Trunk or Treat

The PBA's annual Trunk or Treat event starts 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the 42nd Street recreational complex's parking lot, across from the Brigantine Community Center.

During Trunk or Treat, local residents and members of the city's Police, Fire, Public Eorks and Beach Patrol departments decorate their vehicles for Halloween, and give out candy from the vehicles' trunks or beds.

The event is not specifically designed to replace traditional trick-or-treating on Halloween night, but to provide children a safer alternative to going door-to-door through neighborhoods at night if they so choose.

The PBA welcomes anyone willing to decorate their vehicle for Halloween and assist in the event. Those interested in participating can email PBA event delegate Patrolman Joe Sweet at jsweet@brigantinebeachnj.com.

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