There was no shortage of mud, laughter, friendship and fun Sunday morning (July 7), as riders set out on the second annual Quesnel Outback Quadders Society Poker Run.
Leaving the Deacon Creek Trailhead north of Quesnel, which is a short drive off the Barkerville Highway, riders in ATVs and side-by-sides rode a 44-kilometre loop, picking up poker hands at five different stops before returning to the trailhead to receive their final cards and see who won the numerous prizes donated by local sponsors.
This year, the Poker Run attracted people from Prince George, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake and Vanderhoof, with many participants camping out the night before. A couple from Summerland who were visiting Quesnel for the weekend even ended up registering to ride.
“The trails are damp today, there’s no doubt about it,” Jack Service, president of the Quesnel Outback Quadders Society, said Sunday morning as the first riders began setting off.
“There’s going to be mud and water. We have everything from little machines to great big machines up here.”
This year, there were 65 hands, which is more than last year’s Poker Run, and Service says there were probably 75-80 people riding, as many doubled up in quads.
“It turned out really well, so we’re quite happy,” he said. “A lot of people had fun. There was lots of mud.”
Donna Gill won $250 for first place, while Peter Benisch won $150 for second, and Jeremy Whiteman won $100 for third. In the Heads or Tails game, Karen Benisch won the power wash from Active Rent-All, and Tim Patchenn won two three-day passes to the Cariboo Rocks the North festival.
All the money raised by the Poker Run, through registration and a 50/50 draw, goes toward trail maintenance, and Service says they raised more than $1,000 this year. Club members build new trails, clean up trails and build bridges to protect creeks.
The Quesnel Outback Quadders put a lot of work into the trails, and they just finished up a major project where they built a new 2.5-kilometre bypass around the wetlands after receiving a grant from the Quesnel Community Foundation.
“It was a big project,” said Service. “It actually turned out to be a nice trail; it wanders through the trees.”
A lot of the trails used and maintained by the Quesnel Outback Quadders are de-commissioned logging roads or old snowmobile trails they have opened up, explained Service, noting they’ve opened up about 60 kilometres of trails.
“It’s open to anybody,” he said. “The snowmobile club uses it in the winter.”