The Wallowa County Gamblers all-volunteer snowmobile club held their annual Poker Run fundraiser on Jan. 19. Club treasurer Chad Cooney said the club sold 358 hands at $5 per hand. He wasn’t sure of the exact number of attendees but said that both sides of the Salt Creek Summit parking lot were full.
For a number of reasons, the run is held more as a lottery than traditional poker hands. At each of the six stops on the run, participants choose from a bag of poker chips numbering 1-40. That number is marked on a card. The 36-mile run ends at the Joseph Community Center where the card numbers are counted and totaled. The total number is entered into a lottery with other totals and a computer draws one of those numbers for prizes.
This year’s event raised about $3,500, of which the club will keep about $1,000.
The route started at Salt Creek Summit parking lot and followed along five stops, each with a bonfire. After completion the participants loaded up and traveled to the Joseph Community Center for the lottery drawing and a tri-tip dinner.
Cooney said his favorite thing about the event was that it got everyone into the outdoors, including some non-participants.
“We had people that came through that didn’t have cards or anything,” he said. They just rode through to be there with us.”
Club president Dustin James agreed.
“We had beautiful weather with great snow,” he said. He added he’d like to thank all the club volunteers and the sponsors who put in heroic efforts to get the event off the ground this year.
The monies the club receives for the event are given to such local local non-profits as the food bank. The club hasn’t decided on the recipient of this year’s funds.