The first Turtle Johnson Poker Run is set for Saturday, June 1.
Organizers are inviting motorcycles, trucks, cars and hot rods to take part in the poker run that includes a late afternoon barbecue and celebration.
The cost to participate is $10 for the first poker hand and $5 for each additional poker hand.
Family members of Turtle Johnson, who has passed away, will join with the Historic First Baptist Church Restoration Committee to host the event. Proceeds will go toward the restoration of the 1874 church and education building at 420 S. First that is now underway.
Participants can sign up at the American Legion, 320 W. Meramec, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. the day of the event.
Organizers also are seeking advertisers on Turtle Poker Run T-shirts and items for a silent auction.
Designers are preparing artwork for the T-shirts and selling ads for supporters to be included. Supporters who take $250 ads will receive two T-shirts. Those who take $100 ads will receive one. All remaining shirts will be sold at $20 each.
Poker run participants will leave the American Legion Post at 11 a.m.
The first stop will be Trixie’s Bar and Bistro in Catawissa where a buffet lunch will be served.
Participants also will stop at the Ruffneck Resistance Cabin off Highway 30 at St. Clair. They will return to the Legion Hall where a benefit barbecue will be held from 4 to 8 p.m.
Activities at the Legion will include barbecue, a silent action and live music.
The cost of the barbecue is $10 a plate. Tickets can be preordered and silent auction donations can be dropped off at Gildehaus Comfort Systems, 412 S. First St., Pacific.
When Norbert Gildehaus and Bob Masson decided to raise funds to elevate Historic First Baptist to save it from future floods, Johnson was the first person to step forward and donate funds to the campaign and to become a member of the restoration committee.
Johnson had been a caretaker at the little frame church his entire life and had been cutting the grass at the church every week even though it had been empty since the flood of January 2017.
Using donated funds, the buildings have been elevated above flood level and volunteers from local labor clubs are busy repairing, wiring and plumbing the structures’ interior to prepare it for new heating and air conditioning, drywall and new flooring.
Proceeds from the poker run will help buy the material.
“We already have a lot of excitement about the event,” Gildehaus said. “I think we’re going to have a good event.”