Participants compete in last year’s Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club Poker Run. This year’s event begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Freeman Reservoir trailhead parking lot about 10 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13. The cost is $10 for one hand or $25 for three hands. Proceeds go toward a scholarship fund to benefit local students.

File photo

Participants compete in last year’s Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club Poker Run. This year’s event begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Freeman Reservoir trailhead parking lot about 10 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13. The cost is $10 for one hand or $25 for three hands. Proceeds go toward a scholarship fund to benefit local students.

Annual Poker Run to trek up Black Mountain

If you go

What: Tenth annual Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club Poker Run

When: Registration takes place from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. Card stations are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and prizes are awarded at 7 p.m.

Where: Run begins at Freeman Reservoir trailhead parking lot about 10 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13. Prizes are awarded at The O.P. Bar and Grill, 534 E. Victory Way.

Cost: $10 for one hand or $25 dollars for three hands; $8.95 per person for an Italian buffet dinner at the restaurant.

— For more information, call Rob Albert at 846-8516 or visit www.northwestcolo...

Rob Albert, Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club vice president, said poker is an activity for the whole family.

At least his version is, anyway.

On Saturday, the club hosts its 10th annual Poker Run on Black Mountain.

Half of the proceeds from the event go toward a local student scholarship fund, and the other half is distributed as cash prizes to participants.

“It’s a very low-key, laid-back day,” Albert said. “There’s a lot of family participation.”

The run begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Freeman Reservoir trailhead parking lot about 10 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13.

Participants will drive snowmobiles around the reservoir and up Black Mountain. They will pick up playing cards at five different stations along a 30-mile course.

“You’re playing one hand of poker,” Albert said. “And because each card station starts with a fresh deck of cards, theoretically, five aces would be the highest possible hand.”

The cost is $10 for one hand or $25 dollars for three hands.

Last year, the event attracted nearly 100 people and raised about $1,800 for the scholarship fund.

Albert said the fundraising total varies each year.

“We’re at the mercy of the weather,” he said. “Participation is noticeably larger on days with sunny skies and calm winds. A couple of years ago we happened to catch a day when it was kind of a rain-snow mix and participation was down.”

First place wins 25 percent of the prize money, second place 15 percent and third place 10 percent.

“We’ve also collected donations from local businesses,” Albert said. “Area hair salons, restaurants, and hotels have donated door prizes.”

Prizes will be awarded at 7 p.m. at The O.P. Bar and Grill, 534 E. Victory Way. The restaurant will also serve an Italian buffet dinner for $8.95 per person.

The Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club formed in the mid-1980s, Albert said.

The 83-member club hosts group rides twice a month and grooms more than 100 miles of trails on Black Mountain.

Albert said the club hopes to distribute this year’s student scholarships in late April or early May. The club will provide applications to Moffat County High School students.

“There’s a small application sheet that they fill out,” Albert said. “We ask them what snowmobiling means to them, what their plans for the future are, and so on.”

Asked what snowmobiling means to him, Albert laughed before answering.

“Snowmobiling is the only thing that makes my life tolerable,” he said.

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