Drivers cruised their shiny classic cars across Sonoma County on Sunday to help raise money for local mental health awareness organizations.
The Rollin’ Rosies Car Club, a nine member all-women nonprofit, hosted a poker run that featured classic cars, poker and people dressed in rockabilly attire.
“Coming out of the pandemic there’s a huge need for mental health services and support. We want people to know it’s okay to reach out, to need help and that you’re never alone,” said Katie Prosser, the club’s vice president, who showed up with her shiny blue 1956 Chevy Wagon.
“We come from all walks of life and have different life experiences. It feels good we can come together as a team to make a difference,” she added.
The club, which formed in 2017, holds and participates in events in Sonoma County that help raise funds for local mental health awareness and suicide prevention organizations.
On Sunday at Santa Rosa’s Mitote Food Park, classic cars glistened while parked in a line and women in rockabilly dresses and red lipstick leaned against them.
Beginning at Mitote Food Park around 10 a.m., participants and leaders of other local organizations began with a scorecard then cruised to five stops in Sonoma County through the afternoon — Tom Rose Ranch, HenHouse Brewery, Washoe House and Penngrove’s Twin Oaks Roadhouse to pick up a playing card at each stop.
Participating poker players pulled a single red playing card from a shuffled deck, while stopped at each venue, in order to build their hands.
At the final stop, the driver with the highest poker hand won a prize or donated to local mental health charities and organizations, Prosser said.
In 2017, five Sonoma County women who met at various local car club events realized they shared more than a passion for classic cars. They also learned that many of their members have lost someone to suicide or struggled with their mental health at some point, too.
Those shared passions evolved into a group that would eventually raise money and participate in events that support those causes.
Heather Hyde, whose partner committed suicide five years ago, said this kind of openness and common link is one of the reasons why giving back to this cause is important to her.
“Talking about it and getting it out there has helped me grieve through it and let other people know that there’s help,” Hyde, the club’s president said. “Everyone is going through mental illness on some level or another whether it’s personally or someone in their life. We encourage everyone to come out and be a part of our group.”
Leah Metallic, a member of NorCal PinUp Girls, a nonprofit whose members include models and photographers that help raise funds for local organizations and various causes, photographed participants in rockabilly outfits at the poker run’s second stop — Tom Rose Ranch.
“We’re bringing back a bit of the past today,” said Metallic who wore a red and white polka dot pinup dress. “It’s neat that I get to re-enact and express that time in history through fashion.”
Some organizations they’ve supported include Buckelew Programs, Social Advocates for Youth and Redemption House of the Bay Area.
Sunday’s event, the club’s first poker run, will become an annual outing, Prosser said.
Rollin’ Rosies Car Club hosts a “Cars, Coffee and Cruisin’” event on the first Sunday of every month where members cruise together and get coffee and food to support local businesses.
You can reach Staff Writer Mya Constantino at email@example.com. @searchingformya on Twitter.