Firefighting fundraiser planned in Coarsegold

The Sierra Shadow Casters Motorcycle Club and the Merchants of the Coarsegold Historic Village, led by Gma’s & Pappa’s Motorcycle Apparel, are hosting the "Next Firefighter Up" motorcycle poker run to benefit Volunteer Fire Departments early next month.

The two beneficiaries are Fire Station 8 of Coarsegold (Road 417) and Station 10 of Yosemite Lakes Park (YLP) from the event in Coarsegold’s Historic Village, starting at 8 a.m. April 9.

Volunteer fire stations are not generally thought about until you need them, firefighters said.

Gus Lavell, Company Captain for the YLP station, told the club his station responded to some 300 calls in 2015 for everything from structure and vegetation fires to medical calls and auto accidents. Capt. Lavell oversees 18 volunteers who all work a full-time job and remain on call all year. Coarsegold’s station 8 has around six volunteers.

Both companies are in constant need of new equipment or safety gear which is not always funded by the county due to budget constraints. This is the reason fundraisers are so important, Lavell said.

"The average year consists of five fundraisers for Station 10" Lavell said, "typically raising around $10,000."

While this seems like a lot of money it can go fast given the high cost of equipment. Money is also used for firehouse maintenance.

Volunteer firefighters assist full-time Cal Fire and Madera County firefighters by staffing rehabilitation units at major incidents and cover fire stations when full-time firefighters are assigned elsewhere. They participate in fire and EMS calls on an on call basis. They participate in related drills year round and have an active role in the Madera County Fire Department's public education program.

Volunteer firefighters give back to the community by protecting residents and helping to educate fellow community members about fire and medical safety.

During the fundraiser, motorcyclists from the foothills and San Joaquin Valley will gather to ride a predetermined route with five stops to draw a playing card. At the end of the run the person with the highest poker hand (and worst) will win a cash prize.

The ride will end at the Coarsegold Village where riders will be treated to a delicious tri-tip barbecue lunch prepared by the volunteer firefighters, and enjoy the music of "Roadeez," the local YLP band sensation featuring hits from the 60s and 70s.

There will be a 50/50 drawing and raffle with dozens of prizes. There will also be a special raffle for a propane meat smoker, a barbecue grill, 48-inch TV and a beautiful woman’s necklace.

While the morning poker run is geared for motorcyclists, the non-riding general public is cordially invited to come have lunch and participate in the afternoon events at 1 p.m. for a $15 donation per person, with children five and under free. Station 10 will have a fire engine on hand for the kids to check out. Clawson Honda and Silva Ford will be there to show off some of their best vehicles as well as many other exhibits.

For bikers, a donation of $25 is asked for the rider and $15 for the passenger.

Pre-registration is available online at or the day of the event at 8 a.m. The ride starts at 9:30.

Details: Paul, (559) 660-6440.

Sierra Shadow Casters