Kaleb Brown pulls a snow machine during the final leg of the Poker Run hosted by the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club on Saturday at the Freeman Reservoir trailhead. The snowmobile in tow, which Brown’s father was riding in the event, blew its clutch.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Kaleb Brown pulls a snow machine during the final leg of the Poker Run hosted by the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club on Saturday at the Freeman Reservoir trailhead. The snowmobile in tow, which Brown’s father was riding in the event, blew its clutch.

Snowmobile Club raises scholarship money through event

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Jayden Overton, 5, and her mother, Stephanie, pick up the last card for their hand while Joe Tonso helps officiate at the final station of the Poker Run hosted by the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club on Saturday at the Freeman Reservoir trailhead. Cards for hands were determined by spinning a wheel at each of the five stations along the trail.

Results

Results from the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club’s ninth annual Poker Run:

• First place — Joe Tonso

• Second place — Karson Fedinec

• Third place — Wanda Brown

For more information on the group and its upcoming meetings and events, visit www.northwestcoloradosnowmobileclub.org.

Straddling a black and green Arctic Cat snowmobile with the engine idling in the parking lot of the Freeman Trailhead parking lot, Kaleb Brown and his girlfriend, Alisha Hansen, strapped on their helmets and goggles Saturday morning and prepared for a day full of chills and thrills.

And, hopefully, a little luck.

The Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club hosted its ninth annual Poker Run on Saturday at the Freeman trail area north of Craig. The event had a turnout of nearly 100 entrants for the 30-mile snowmobile contest, bringing in about $1,800 for the group’s fundraising effort for Moffat County High School scholarships.

Snowmobile enthusiasts riding transports of all sizes, shapes and colors got the chance to brush up on their card skills with the Poker Run format.

Making their way through the trails up and around Freeman Reservoir, Black Mountain Trailhead and the surrounding areas, they sought out the five card stations set up on the route.

Participants received a playing card drawn at random at each station, with the accumulation accounting for each player’s poker hand. Each hand cost $10 to buy in, bettering the odds to take home a percentage of the purse.

Brown said he hoped to win some money from the game, but, whether he won or lost, he still would enjoy the ride, one of his favorite activities.

“It’s my winter life,” he said. “We’ve got some of the best snowmobiling in the world here.”

Brown said he has been snowmobiling nearly his whole life, since about the age of 3.

“Ever since I could squeeze the throttle,” he said.

Hansen, sitting on the back of Brown’s Arctic Cat, said she had only been snowmobiling with her boyfriend one other time before the Poker Run.

“It should be fun as long as we can stay warm,” she said.

Friends Tyler Delay and Brandon Shipman said they love the adrenaline rush of the outdoor activity.

“You’re free to do what you want, and there’s more you can do out here on a snowmobile in the winter than you can on a four-wheeler,” Delay said.

Also present at the Poker Run were representatives of Colorado State Parks, who were testing snowmobiles for sound levels.

The free testing determined if the noise produced by engines went above 88 decibels, which will be the maximum legal noise level for the machines beginning July 1.

Senior Park Ranger Ed Keleher said the testing allowed riders time to adjust their snowmobiles to comply with the upcoming state law.

Keleher, who also recently has done avalanche safety training in the area, said he thinks the Snowmobile Club to be one of the best of many such clubs in Colorado.

“I may be a bit biased, though, since I’m from here,” he said.

Club member Jenn Tonso, whose husband, Joe, took home the $500 top prize and donated it toward the scholarships, encouraged local residents to join in the group ridings offered by the club, which meets in the Craig Middle School parking lot the second and fourth Sundays of every month.

“You don’t even have to be a member to ride,” she said.

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