By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Capping off Cornfest weekend, the Southern Alberta Trail Riding Association (SATRA) hosted their first ever poker ride that took place at the Grassy Lake Forks Aug. 29.
Traditionally in a poker ride or poker run, the participants would start at a specific point and travel to other areas to collect an entire poker hand. The hands are pitted against the hands of other participants and whoever has the best wins.
“Our’s was a little different in the sense we had games at our stations to include our youth members,” said SATRA President Amanda Malone. “The most popular was the water crossing; everybody really liked crossing the river. Most of the others were wild west-themed, with things like a bank robbery — where we shot pop cans with NERF guns. It was really fun.”
It was decided for the event the proceeds would go to HALO Air Rescue. HALO is the only dedicated medevac helicopter service for southern Alberta and is funded exclusively through donations.
“Once we decided we were going to do our poker ride, we questioned our membership on who the proceeds should go to and HALO was the most popular.”
Malone noted since it was their first poker ride, they were lucky to have a member that was involved in one before that was able to help out. “All of the other members have always wanted to go to one but they’ve all been further north and nobody has really been able to attend one.”
“Our entry fee was $30 for your first hand and every hand after was $5. You could play up to five hands. For our youth members, they could ride and play the games on the trail for $10. We had a first, second and third place prize for best hands and a prize for the worst hand, as well. Along with a 50/50 raffle.”
“From the poker ride itself we raised $535, and from the 50/50 we donated $64 — so in total, we raised $599.” Malone also mentioned Patti Wobick and Karen Dormaar — the first and second place winners respectively — both donated their winnings to HALO.
There were 10 volunteers, including Malone that helped put it all together.
SATRA is planning on making their poker rides an annual event, and if you want more information on HALO go to https://www.haloairambulance.com.