Cape Shrine Club Poker Run Draws Dozens of Women
By: CJ Cassidy
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Hundreds of bikers revved up their engines for a good cause in downtown Cape Girardeau Sunday morning.
The Cape Shrine Club sponsored their 11th annual poker run in an effort to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
There were dozens of fearless females out there as well.
Turns out the number of women bikers is growing fast and several say riding for charity helps give them a sense of purpose.
Karen Gibbs, 56, just bought her own Harley Davidson Deluxe. She's ready to ride alongside her biker hubby instead of behind him.
"It's all about the thrill of being out there on the road, and having the control and the power," Gibbs said.
She adds women like hitting the asphalt when they know they can make a difference. At the Cape Shrine Clubs' Annual Poker Run, riders met with three local children getting free treatment at Shriners' Hospitals.
As Gibbs points out, donations collected at charity rides like this one, helped put a smile on the kids faces.
"There's always something going on for a charity, so it's just a way for us to give back," she said.
The Motorcycle Industry Council says the number of female bikers is growing fast, nationwide, and some say it's probably because baby boomers no longer want to take a back seat to the men.
"I did ride behind my husband for a while, but I got tired of looking to the side, or looking over his shoulder," Susan Davis said.
"I know a lot of single riders who are women. They do their own thing now, they don't wait on anybody," Gibbs said.
"We waited for our kids to grow up before we started riding again," said Karen's husband Bill, who is a rider himself.
Like Bill, most men say they're thrilled their wives want to ride, but they're not ready to give up control altogether. For example, Bill's never been on the back of his wife's bike.
"That isn't going to happen," he chuckled. "It's just not a manly thing to do!"
Karen Gibbs says that's alright. After picking up her riding habit, she doesn't sweat the small stuff.
"It's just about the love of the sport, and the love of the bikes, and the camaraderie with all our friends," she said.
Another interesting note, many female bikers don't sport a lot of tattoos or a try to have a tough image, but they do go all out when it comes to safety gear.
Cape Girardeau organizers say they're thrilled to see that. They expect to make about $8,000 from Sunday's poker run, that will benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.