It was a close call this year for the Seven Summits Poker Ride.
Up until Tuesday when the area restriction on the Seven Summits trail was finally lifted, it looked like the ride might have to be cancelled this year due to the Big Sheep Creek fire. But luck was a lady, and the event went ahead as planned on Sunday.
The 11th annual poker ride started at the Seven Summits trailhead out at Nancy Greene. Nearly 100 riders hit seven stations along the Seven Summits and Dewdney trail collecting cards for two hands, and enjoying a treat courtesy of the Mountain Nugget Chocolate Company.
“The tradition is fruit and chocolate fondue at the mid-station, along with things like water and mechanical assistance courtesy of Revolution,” said Tyler Merringer from Revolution Cycle, who organized the event. “We generally have a lot more support out there then on a normal day when you’re all on your own.”
At each station riders collected one card just for showing up. To earn a card for their second hand they had to play games and participate in activities.
At the final station riders earned their second card by riding over a ramp, but riders who did a table-top jump could earn a wildcard. Another station took a more political approach.
“The first card station had pictures of Trudeau, Harper, Mulcair and the idea was you threw darts at the bodies of these politicians to cast your vote, and … there was also cards along the bodies … and depending on which card you hit with your dart was the card you got for your poker hand,” explained Merringer.
Asked which politician got the most votes, Merringer said, “Well I wasn’t clear whether you were supposed to vote for who you actually wanted or throw a dart at who you didn’t want, so we’ll say the deepest holes were in Harper’s head.”
A couple from Burlington, Ont. upped the ante by getting married during the poker ride. Tammie and Mark Jordan said their vows on the top of Granite Mountain in wedding gown and tux spandex, and brought cupcakes to the after-party at the Lions Head Campground to help celebrate their special day.
Once at the campground riders showed their hands.
The prize for the best first hand, a new GoPro, went to Piers Bonifant, while the prize for the best second hand, a new helmet, went to Tim Robert. There were also prizes for heaviest bike (which also went to Bonifant), oldest bike, best spandex, and more.
Merringer wanted to thank all of those who made the event possible, including Mountain Shuttle for shuttling riders to and from the trail, Rossland Beer Company for bringing the beer, and all of the local volunteers.