Sunflower Diversified Services seeks sponsorships for annual poker run

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Riders in last year’s Ride for Independence Poker Run, sponsored by Sunflower Diversified Services based in Great Bend are gearing up for 2020. The fourth annual event is set for Saturday, Aug. 8, with planned stops for poker hands in Sterling, Ellinwood, Stafford, St. John and Great Bend.

GREAT BEND–The Ride for Independence Poker Run itinerary has been mapped out, with the safety and well-being of participants in mind, said Connie Oetken, director of development at Sunflower Diversified Services. Now all that is needed are sponsorships that help raise money for children and adults with special needs.

The fourth annual event is set for Saturday, Aug. 8 when motorcycles and other vehicles will travel the poker-run route. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Sterling Lake Park, East Van Buren Street in Sterling. Kickstands go up at 10:30 a.m.

All proceeds are earmarked for Sunflower’s Beautiful Minds Art Studio where Sunflower clients express their creative side.

The stops planned for 2020 poker-hand cards are: Wolf Hotel, Main and Santa Fe streets, Ellinwood; Stafford City Pool, 400 W. Broadway, Stafford; and Squeaks, 414 Broadway, St. John. The final destination is Veterans Memorial Park, 17th and McKinley streets, Great Bend, also the site of the annual Party in the Park festivities.

“Because of the pandemic, we talked with city officials in Sunflower’s service area before deciding on our route,” Oetken said. “Everyone was happy to help and we think this is a good plan. Even at Squeaks, participants can be outside.”

The cost for a rider or driver is $20; passengers are $10. There is a $10 fee for an extra poker hand.

Prizes include $150 for the best poker hand; $75 for the second best; and $50 for the worst hand.

“Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact us as soon as possible,” Oetken said. “This is a great way to raise much-needed funds for our art studio and enjoy a fun day in the process.

“We also would appreciate sponsorships to help us with expenses. The adults and children we serve at Sunflower always appreciate the generosity of central Kansas residents.”

Oetken emphasized that Sunflower is grateful to the city of Great Bend for its willingness to welcome riders at Party in the Park.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” she said. “It is so gratifying to have support from the public and local government.”

For more information or to register early, call 620-792-1325. Online registration is available at

Sunflower, in it’s 54th year, continues to serve infants, toddlers and adults with intellectual disabilities and delays in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.