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By Carmen Ensinger
Everyone has heard, and seen, the long lines of motorcycles taking part in poker runs, hitting bar after bar raising funds for a charity, but has anyone ever seen a poker run using side-by-sides (SxS)?
Probably not, because those vehicles, better known as UTV’s (Utility Task Vehicles), or recreational off-highway vehicles, are not allowed on the highway.
Descriptively, an SxS is a small one to six person four-wheel-drive off road vehicle. They are legally allowed to be driven the city limits, if licensed within each city limit, if that city allows them, and on country roads.
Much like the motorcycle, they have become very popular and what started out as a small group of friends just going out together and riding on weekends turned into much a club that this past weekend raised $3,500 to help those less fortunate in the Greene communities.
Jill Maberry explained how she and her husband, Brian, and some friends, started the Greene County SxS Riders about a year ago.
“We started out as a small group of friends who rode SxS’s who came up with an idea of collecting money to help people,” she said. “We would donate our own money and put it in a pot. We opened up an account and if we knew someone who needed help, say with gas cards to help them get to chemo treatments or something, we would vote on it, and donate to that person.”
What started out as just a few couples grew…and grew…and grew as the word spread about what they were doing.
“There are about 30 of us now that go riding on the weekends,” Maberry said. “So, before we take off, if we want to, we throw some money in the pot and put it in the bank account. Then, we came up with the idea of this fundraiser to let more people join in.”
Maberry said it really isn’t a club.
“I don’t’ think you could really call us a club,” she said. “We are just a group of people who get together on the weekends to ride. We do, however, have our own Facebook page and I think there are about 154 people who are members of it. From that page, we have had people from Jacksonville and Winchester come ride with us.”
Saturday, Oct. 23 was their first big fundraiser. It began at Paradice Club in White Hall and from there it traveled to seven different locations throughout the country – literally. Remember, SxS can’t travel on the highway.
“Because we can’t travel on the highways, we have to travel the backroads, we had several stops at some personal properties where there were games set up,” Maberry said. “We were able to go to Heavy Eddie’s Bar in Hillview, however.”
Maberry said they also went out and obtained donations to raffle off.
“All in all, we raised right around $3,500 from the ride,” she said. “In addition to helping those in need, we also help out the Tree of Joy here in White Hall and different other charities with what we raise. We had a very good turnout for our first ride.”