Jeff Wyand Miracle Ride has new route this year

TICONDEROGA - The 9th annual Jeff Wyand Miracle Ride, a motorcycle ride to benefit Fletcher Allen Health Care's Vermont Children's Hospital in Burlington, will travel a new route this year.

The ride, which has traditionally begun in Rouses Point, will begin this year at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, 1134 Wicker St., next Sunday, Aug. 16. Registration for the ride will be held from 9-11:30 a.m., with the ride to immediately follow.

The parade-style route will leave the Wal-Mart parking lot, taking State Routes 9N and 22 to Westport and Elizabethtown, continuing on Route 9N to Keeseville. The ride will continue on Route 9N to Bear Swamp Road in Peru, taking State Route 22 to State Route 22B through Schuyler Falls and Morrisonville. The route will then continue on State Route 3 through Plattsburgh to Broad Street. The ride will conclude by turning onto Peru Street, following Bridge Street to Dock Street, where it will end at the Naked Turtle. There, a traditional barbecue celebration will be held.

This year's event will see the return of the ride's "poker crawl." Anyone who pays an additional amount to enter the crawl will be able to pick up playing cards at three different locations along the route, receiving a total of five cards in all. When the ride ends, each participant is checked to see who has the best poker hand. First through third prizes - and a consolation prize for the player with the bust hand - will be awarded. In the event of a tie, a blind raffle will be held to determine the winner.

The poker crawl is similar to a traditional poker run, though in that scenario, riders traditionally split up to get their cards as quick as possible. The crawl encourages riders to stick together, in order to maintain the stirring image of hundreds of bikers riding in unison.

The Jeff Wyand Miracle Ride began in 2005, then known as "Biking for Miracles." The ride was established by Tom Wyand of Plattsburgh, in honor of his son, Jeff, who was battling pediatric cancer at the time. Jeff Wyand succumbed to his cancer in November 2006, at the age of 18. The ride was then named in his memory.

For more information, visit www.jeffwyandride.org. Donations may also be made on the Web site or by mailing them to Fletcher Allen Health Care Development Office, 111 Colchester Ave., Burlington V.T. 05401.

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