23rd Annual Poker Ride at Bridger Bowl set for July 10 | TSLN.com

23rd Annual Poker Ride at Bridger Bowl set for July 10

The Gallatin Valley Back Country Horseman are holding their 23rd Annual Poker Rider at Bridger Bowl on July 10. Proceeds from the Poker Ride, the primary fundraiser for the organization, enables them to maintain local trails such as Spanish Creek as well as others in the area including trails in the Bridger, Madison and Gallatin Mountains of Southwest Montana.

Organizers say the poker ride has become one of the most popular in the state because of outstanding Bridger Mountain scenery, the vast number of prizes available and hearty lunch served following the ride. Riders of all ages are invited to join the fun after they register and sign a release. Children must have a signed parental release in order to participate. Participants do not need to know how to play poker, but must furnish their own horses (sorry, no dogs or stallions).

Registration is from 8-10 a.m., with riders departing between 8:30-10:30 a.m. The cost to participate is $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Adult registration includes one poker hand (50/50 splits are available for an additional $5), lunch and a chance to win some great prizes. Cost for children includes prize drawings and lunch, but not a poker hand. A poker hand is available at the adult rate. For non-riders, lunch is available for $10. The route this year covers approximately 11 miles; a shortcut trims the route to about 8 miles.

There are a couple of important considerations to make note of this year, organizers report. First, proof of negative Coggins is required with testing done Jan. 2010 or later. Poker rider organizers ask for the rider to have paperwork ready before turning into Bridger Bowl. Without appropriate paperwork, individuals will not be able to participate in the event.

Also note that parking may be limited this year due to construction of a new lift at Bridger Bowl (equipment may be stored in portions of the parking area). Car pool, if possible, and conserve space when parking.

Before hitting the trail, riders will be provided a map, tally sheet and a chance to draw the first card for their poker hand. Participants will then follow the well-marked trail through the Bridger mountain range, stopping at three “pop stops” along the trail.

At the stop-overs, horses can rest while riders stretch, enjoy cold drinks and watermelon furnished by the Back Country Horsemen and draw additional cards to add to their poker hand. The fifth – and final -card will be drawn after returning to the starting point where riders turn in their hands to the Backcountry Horsemen. Prizes will be awarded for the top five poker hands upon the last rider’s return.

Riders will be vying for prizes such as a custom 50 percent beaver hat from Rocky Mountain Hat Company, Tony Lama Bullhide Boots from Ardesson Boots of Bozeman and many other items. A wide assortment of other prizes will be awarded by a random drawing of all participants and posted after the ride. Other prizes include horse feed, tack, horse training sessions, jewelry and much more merchandise as well as gift certificates from area restaurants and business.

Following the poker ride, a hearty chicken dinner will be served in the lunch tent. Dinner will include fried chicken, a variety of salads, rolls, dessert and cold drinks.

For more information, contact Sherrie White, 406-686-9169 or e-mail sherrie@mexico-villas.com; or Sandy McManus, 406-578-6405.

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