Written by Diana Olmstead
The 6th Annual “Run with the Wolves” Poker Run held Saturday, September 13th was another smashing success! Attendance and dollars raised set new records. Best of all the ride and fun factor exceeded all expectations.
The ride began at Little Creek Casino and Kamilche Trading Post just off of Hwy 101 and Hwy 8 in Mason County. Both are major sponsors. As my posse of riding buddies made their way down the off ramp we caught sight of the hundreds of bikes that filled the designated registration/start location in the Little Creek Casino parking lot. Our minds were collectively blown! We pulled in with wide grins as we recognized the faces of so many of our friends and loyal Quick Throttle readers.
The ride to Little Creek Casino was a bit foggy and cold but nothing that a rider couldn’t handle. The weather forecast for ‘ride day’ called for early morning fog burning off quickly with highs in the 80’s.
Kamilche Trading Post (KTP,) a cash sponsor, also generously provided a continental-style breakfast and hot coffee free of charge to the mass of riders. Now that’s a great way to start a ride first thing in the morning!
We exited out the back side of the Casino heading to our second stop, The Rusty Tractor (cash sponsor) in Elma. This restaurant is a neat place with a down home country feel. They are very biker friendly and serve outstanding meals. It was here that the fog lifted leaving us with sunny skies!
From the Rusty Tractor we took a truly beautiful route through some of the prettiest areas of Grays Harbor and Thurston Counties heading to stop #3, Lucky Eagle Casino located in Rochester. Lucky Eagle Casino, a long time supporter of the Run with the Wolves Poker Run was our title sponsor this year. In addition, they also offered reduced rates in their hotel to all riders. This year some friends and I opted to stay at the Eagles Landing Hotel Saturday night. The rooms were extremely nice, and the dinner and breakfast buffets were down right delicious.
After riders had drawn their cards it was time to jump back on our bikes and keep rolling. By now the riders were all commenting on how scenic the route was and were looking forward to what they’d see and experience on the remainder of ride.
The next stop was Wolf Haven International located in Tenino. We wanted to give the riders an opportunity to experience up close who and what they were supporting, a dedicated and selfless non-profit organization whose mission is “working for wolf conservation” by: protecting our wild wolves; providing sanctuary for captive-born wolves; promoting wolf restoration in historic ranges; and educating the public on the value of all wildlife.
The parking lot reached max capacity as the riders pulled in, drew their cards and headed down the trails to take part in a mini tour of the sanctuary. For many riders this was the first time they had seen a wolf, a truly majestic animal, up close. This stop was not only fun, it was enlightening to their cause.
After mingling with fellow riders, the wolves and the Wolf Haven staff it was on to our final leg of the run, the Junction Sports Bar & Grill located in Grand Mound. This final stop was the culmination of a great day of riding! All of the riders drew their final cards hoping to have that winning hand! As the poker hands were tallied, no easy feat with hundreds of hands to count and compare, the riders kicked back in the sunshine in the Junctions back yard beer garden. This isn’t your typical outdoor bar area. It is a huge lawn filled with picnic tables and a big stage.
Rex and Lynn, the owners, generously donated a BBQ meal to all of the registered riders. This is no easy task to undertake and plan. We appreciate all that they and their staff did to insure a great end of ride party!
On stage rocking the crowd was one of my favorite bands, The Fabulous Johnsons. An accomplished classic rock band, with Lynn Sorenson on lead vocals, bass, and electric violin, Michael Johnson on lead guitar and Jeff Kathan on drums. This band rocks! Playing classics by Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Montrose, AC/DC, ZZ Top, and Aerosmith.
During the Run with the Wolves end-of-ride Party and between band breaks, announcements were made, raffle winners names were drawn winning swag from Jack Daniels, Northwest H-D (also a valued cash sponsor), The Rusty Tractor, Cruisin Goods.com, Storybook Tattoo etc.. We also had a 50/50 raffle with the winner taking home $587! Not bad! Quick Throttle continued it’s tradition of a ‘no you don’t have to sign up to enter’ Bike Show. All you had to do was register for the poker run and put a zip tie on your bars to show you did. We handed out trophies to 4 winners in the following categories: Best Bagger, Best Street Custom, Best Paint and Best Metric. Two of the four categories were won by lady riders! In fact this year we saw lots more women riders as well as more metric bikes.
The Party came to a climatic end with the announcement of the winning poker hands. Best hand won a $1000, that’s right $1000 bucks!! The big winner was Paul Fender! 2nd place was Tom Kukier who walked away with $500 and 3rd place was Dick Bennison who won $250! All winning monies were donated by Lucky Eagle Casino.
Since we went to press within days of the run we don’t have firm & final figures yet but we did raise close to $20,000 on ride day from close to 600 riders. Adding that to the generosity of our sponsors and we expect to top $35,000! Wolf Haven and Quick Throttle Magazine want to thank everyone who rode, donated and helped achieve this extraordinary feat!
Copies of these pictures plus over 2 dozen more can be seen and purchased on line at: www.julielawrencestudios.com
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