Louis J. Billittier Jr. wishes to thank the 125 motorcycle riders, and hundreds of supporters and volunteers, who participated in the Louis J. Billittier Foundation Motorcycle Poker Run and Charity Raffle on Saturday. The run and raffle raised $20,000 for the Louis J. Billittier Foundation for Western New York charities.
One organization receiving funding from the foundation in 2016 is the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center.
The Louis J. Billittier Foundation was formed when Lou Jr.'s father passed away in 2000. Its goal is to continue Lou Sr.'s support of children's charities in Western New York. Lou Billittier, Jr. and Mary Beth Billittier own and operate Chef's Restaurant, located at 291 Seneca St., in downtown Buffalo, and the Chef's "On The Go" food truck.
A portion of Chicago Street was closed to traffic Saturday to accommodate the riders and supporters at the post-race party. Motorcyclists checked in beginning at 8:30 a.m. and received a score sheet and route map. Riders stopped at several checkpoints along the route, where they draw a card. The card was noted on each rider's score sheet before the next checkpoint. Like a game of poker, the person with the best hand at the end was deemed the winner of the $500 "Poker Run." The winner selected at random was Jay Reese of East Eden.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard joined Buffalo Sabres legend Rene Robert of "The French Connection" in starting the motorcycle run at 10 a.m.
In addition, a Harley Davidson Heritage motorcycle was raffled off to one lucky winner. Tickets for the Harley were on sale at Chef's Restaurant for several months.