By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

On Saturday, May 18, hundreds of riders are expected to participate in the second annual Red, White & Blue Cruise through Guthrie County. The event is a fundraiser and honors all veterans and active members of military service.

Robyn Van Zee, president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 124, provided information on the event and how it came to be.

“The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 124 had this crazy idea back in 2021. We had gone on an Eastern Iowa Honor Flights ride out of Central City,” Van Zee said. “We knew we wanted to do it, too.”

The local group decided to create such an event in Guthrie County to raise funds for veterans and active services members, as well as for local charitable organizations.

“We really had no idea where to start. We pulled our boots up and got to work, and last year was a huge success. It far exceeded our expectations,” Van Zee said. “We were so mind-blown last year, we decided we have to do this again.”

With the profits the American Legion Auxiliary made from Red, White & Blue Cruise in 2023, Unit No. 124 was able to donate more than $7,000 to a variety of local causes and organizations, including three Merit Awards to graduating ACGC seniors, veteran transportation, Little Charger Early Learning Center, Guthrie County Relay for Life, Iowa Service Dogs, Veterans’ Day breakfast, and meal programs at Adair-Casey and Guthrie Center schools.

Van Zee said the ride will happen much as it did last year but with a few additions and improvements.

“We are starting a poker run this year,” Van Zee said.

Registration costs for the event are $25 per person. Those who choose to participate in the poker run will pay an additional $20 and then will receive poker cards at the various stops on the day’s agenda, which include Shootout Saloon in Dexter, Ruby’s Pub & Grill in Stuart, Short’s Place in Menlo, Casey Creamery and Tin Lizzies Sports Bar in Casey, and Blue Goose Tavern in Adair. At the end of the ride, the best poker hand will win cash.

“There will be one prize of $250. The rest of the money that is made from all of the poker run participants will go to the Brushy Creek Honor Flight program,” Van Zee said.

Another addition is that during registration, breakfast will be available, provided on site by the Main Street Guthrie Center organization, to raise funds for their program. The menu will include pizza and cinnamon rolls.

Van Dee explained that the day’s events will begin and end at the Guthrie County Fairgrounds, 408 W. State St. in Guthrie Center, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The ride will start around 10 a.m. All vehicles are welcomed, and participants can choose whether to travel on paved roads or gravel.

“There’s no specific route.  People can go any which direction,” Van Zee said. “Rain or shine, we ride.”

Upon the completion of the ride, the band Ghost Riderz will play at the fairgrounds.

“That is open to the public. Bring lawn chairs. And Los Altos food truck will be there,” Van Zee said.