JR Mckelvy gets on his way Saturday morning at the Freeman Reservoir Trailhead. Mckelvy was participating in his first Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club Poker Run, which had a near-record number of riders on a 40-mile round trip on the snowmobile trails north of Craig.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

JR Mckelvy gets on his way Saturday morning at the Freeman Reservoir Trailhead. Mckelvy was participating in his first Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club Poker Run, which had a near-record number of riders on a 40-mile round trip on the snowmobile trails north of Craig.

Snowmobile Poker Run a big hit north of Craig

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With the sun shining all day, conditions were ideal for one of the best snowmobiling Poker Runs in memory.

The Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club hosted its 18th annual Poker Run on Saturday, taking riders on a 40-mile, out-and-back ride on the snowmobile trails north of Craig. The route began at the Freeman Reservoir Trailhead and took riders north to Fern Park, with five stops to draw a card to make the best poker hand and plenty of opportunity to explore in between.

It was one of the most successful Poker Runs ever from a fundraising standpoint. The club sold more than 300 tickets on site during registration in the morning and sold more at the after-party at The O.P. All told, it raised $2,705, which will go toward student scholarships after doling out prize money.

“It was a great day, a great turnout and everybody had great attitudes,” said Duane Core, of NOWECOS. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather or a better event.”

More than 40 snowmobile riders were there to support the event early in the morning registration period. With the weather rising throughout the morning and early afternoon, it was ideal for a day outdoors.

“It looks to be a really good turnout,” said Brad Moore on Saturday morning before riders had departed. “I think we owe a lot of that to the weather.”

The weather just made it easier for the snowmobile enthusiasts to come out, even from beyond Craig. JR Mckelvy came to the Freeman trailhead from Steamboat Springs for his first-ever Poker Run.

Mckelvy had ridden on the trails north of Craig before and was only too happy to have another excuse to utilize them.

“A friend of mine told me about" the Poker Run, he said. “It’s good snow out here, good trails.”

Others there were more seasoned veterans of the Run. Dave Pike, director of Craig Parks and Recreation, missed last year’s event but has been a Poker Run regular for years. He enjoys the event because it is an opportunity to reconnect and spend time with fellow riders.

Moore called this year’s Poker Run “the best one we’ve ever had,” making Saturday a great start to 2014.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

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