The numbers made Chuck Maher smile. The president of the Eureka Police Officers Support Fund said the second annual Big Dawg’s Poker Bash – Back the Blue event on Feb. 25 at Brookdale Farms raised $16,200 for the fund.
“That is a pretty good number for a one-day event,” Maher said. “We couldn’t be more excited. Last year, we raised $10,000, and this year, we raised over $16,000. I think everyone had a really good time.”
The Support Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps address the financial needs of Eureka Police Department officers and their families in times of crisis or disasters.
“BackStoppers is a great organization, but it only covers an officer’s family if he or she is killed on duty,” Maher said. “We offer supplemental financial help if an officer is injured while on duty.”
Maher said the group also funds scholarships for children of Eureka Police employees, helps address equipment needs, covers the cost for a yearly picnic for police employees and helps fund the Coffee with a Cop program.
The poker tournament drew 120 players, which Maher said is the maximum number for the event. The tournament champion was Matt Willis of O’Fallon, who received $500. The remaining top- 10 finishers each took home a portion of $2,500.
Maher said another 40 people came to the event for lunch and to participate in the silent auction. Erica Matthews, an area artist, donated a tribute painting of Miranda Lambert’s song “Little Red Wagon” and the painting fetched the highest price of $625, Maher said.
“We had a lot of really good silent auction items,” he said. “It was a great turnout.”
The event was hosted by Maher's Realty Executives Premiere and Brookdale Farms. The day also featured a couple of St. Louis celebrities. Radio personality Bo Matthews played in the tournament, and former St. Louis football Cardinal tight end Jerry Holloway sang the National Anthem.