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Record participation in annual ATV poker run


Annie Wooden

PIT STOP - Dozens of ATVs line the trail at the warming hut near Gem Peak during the Cabinet Ridge Riders annual poker run last Saturday.

The town of Trout Creek transformed into the ATV Capital of the world last Saturday with the annual Cabinet Ridge Riders (CRR) poker run. Hundreds of riders took an 80-mile ride through the Kootenai National Forest for the event. Shelley Anderson, CRR treasurer, said 392 riders participated in this year's event, beating the group's previous record of 284 riders.

Anderson said they noticed a lot more side-by-side vehicles this year, allowing the event to attract more families. When the event first started, it was mostly motorcycles and 4-wheelers.

Along with a scenic ride, participants drew cards and five stations throughout the event to try and draw the best poker hand. The first and last stops were at the Lakeside in Trout Creek, the second card stop was at Minton Peak, the third at the Gem Peak warming hut and the fourth at the Noxon Park. In Noxon, participants were greeted by a group of Noxon volunteers serving cheeseburgers and chips. Joyce Hilt of Noxon said they sold 160 burgers during the poker run, and all the money goes back to maintenance for the park.

Anderson said the CRR paid 20 places in the poker play, giving back $3,000 in entries fees to the winners, as well as 10 non-winning hands drawn for $15 prizes. First place went to Jason Salois of Idaho with four queens and a seven high, second was Carl McClelland of Williamson, Georgia, with four eights and a king high and third place was Sara Bluemer of Idaho with four fives and a four high. Anderson noted the poker competition was tough, with the 20th hand paid out having three jacks.

Several participants were from out of state, according to Anderson, and many had never done a poker run before. "I was absolutely amazed at the participation," Anderson said. "It was a great day."

Following the ride, an auction was held at the Lakeside in Trout Creek with Kevin Hill helping out the CRR. "Kevin and Pat (his wife) are always such great supporters," Anderson noted. Tammy Weiler of Washington won a four-wheeler raffle, Kristy Russell of Missoula was drawn for a minibike, and JD Wood of Trout Creek had the winning ticket for a chain saw.

Annie Wooden

ON THE TRAIL - ATVs ascend toward Minton Peak during the annual Cabinet Ridge Riders event last Saturday. Almost 400 participants took the 80-mile ride.

In 17 years, the CRR has given more than $155,000 back to local communities, and so far this year has donated $13,780. Each year, they give a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior at each of the county high schools and donate to organizations including local food banks, ambulances, senior centers and the Huckleberry Festival.

The increased traffic this year meant a little longer waits at card stations, but Anderson said they received great feedback from participants. CRR is always looking for more volunteers to help keep their events, which include rides on horses, ATVs and snowmobiles throughout the year, going strong. The next event scheduled by the CRR is a four-person scramble golf tournament, set for Saturday, July 13, at River's Bend Golf Course in Thompson Falls. To register, call the clubhouse at 827-3438, or CRR member Howard Morkert at 827-4080 or (406) 529-5615.


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