No Burt? Back blue instead

Reuben Boniface, of Invercargill, has organised the ‘‘Where’s Burt? Poker Run Southland’’ event for February 13, to raise funds for prostate cancer. Photo: Supplied

MOTORCYCLE enthusiast Reuben Boniface has found an option for disappointed Burt Munro Challenge fans – an around the mountain motorcycle poker run.

It had been cheekily titled, “Where’s Burt? Poker Run Southland”, he said.

The event date was deliberately chosen for Sunday, February 13, when the five-day Burt Munro Challenge would have been finishing.

Even though it was short notice, he still wanted to move ahead with the event.

Mr Boniface said he was impressed with the E Hayes & Sons team who stepped up to sponsor the run.

“E Hayes & Sons have come on board to host it and provide prizes for the best poker hand.”

The Prostate Cancer Run was usually held every two years in September to coincide with Prostate Cancer Awareness month, but last year’s event was cancelled because the country was under a different Covid-19 management plan at the time.

The $20 entry fee each rider paid on the day would be donated to the Blue September Prostate Cancer Foundation.

“The Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand, along with many other charities are really doing it tough at the moment because they are not able to run the events they normally do, even street collections aren’t happening.”

Riders can meet outside E Hayes, on Tay St, Invercargill, at 9am on February 13, where they can register and receive their score cards. Entries will be restricted to 100 people because of the red light protocols.

Mr Boniface expected the event would take a few hours, with planned stops at country pubs where riders can have refreshments and receive cards for their poker hands.

The riders’ 180km journey would head west through Riverton, Tuatapere, around the Longwood Mountain Range via Winton, and back to Invercargill to finish the day with a prizegiving for the top three poker hands.

“We want to get as many involved as we can.

“I’m doing this because the foundation needs funds to provide support to those who are dealing with it [prostate cancer].”

As so many men in New Zealand were affected by the disease every year, he planned on reminding the male riders to ensure they regularly checked themselves and had regular blood tests.

“We want guys to get together and recognise this is still going on and people are still getting prostate cancer. We are encouraging them to look after themselves and each other.”

The New Zealand Prostate Cancer website says prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer (apart from skin cancers) in Kiwi men. Every year more than 4000 men are diagnosed and more than 700 die from the disease – the third highest cause of death after lung and bowel cancers.

Anyone with a prostate could develop the disease and diagnosis was increasing because of increased testing. Early diagnosis and improved treatments have led to better outcomes and a decreased death rate for New Zealand men, the website says.