Some 75 motorcyclists and about half again as many passengers rode out Saturday morning in the ninth annual Josh Davis Memorial Poker Run, a yearly tribute to a Perry war hero who died while serving in the U.S. military.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Davis of Perry was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Davis was a 2009 graduate of Perry High School. He was 19 when killed. The memory of heroes like Davis and others is preserved on the newly painted Dallas County Freedom Rock in Minburn.
Before leaving the Perry Elks Lodge, the JDMPR riders were briefed on the route, which includes stops in Jefferson, Gowrie, Guthrie Center and Jamaica. Riders were reminded the Josh Davis Memorial Poker Run “is an honor ride and not a party,” and sobriety was encouraged.
The Perry Scout Troop 127 then led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance before the kickstands were raised, and the 80-some motorcycles pulled away, following a flag vehicle provided by the Perry Police Department.
Among this year’s participants was Iowa Army National Guard Spc. Taylor Danhauer, a 2017 graduate of Perry High School who now works as a human resources specialist at Camp Dodge. Danhauer drove a National Guard humvee in the position of sweep or ride captain at the rear of the pack.
The first stop was at the Josh Davis Memorial Plaza in downtown Perry, where a prayer was offered up a prayer for a safe ride and for all veterans of the U.S. military.
This year’s 130-mile circuit includes five stops and ends with a supper at the Perry Elks Lodge, followed by a live auction, a 50/50 drawing and a poker hand drawing.
All monies raised by the event support the Josh Davis Memorial Fund. The fund’s activities include the Josh Davis Award at Perry High School and the upkeep and maintenance of the Josh Davis Plaza in downtown Perry. Retrieving Freedom, a service-pet-training organization, also receives a portion of the charity donations.