By Jon Andreassi, Point Park News Service
Running, biking and poker will come together this Labor Day to raise money to help maintain the Youghiogheny River Trail.
The Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter will be hosting its 22nd annual “Poker Run” at the Arthur H. King Access Area of the Youghiogheny River Trail in West Newton on the morning of the holiday at 8:30 a.m.
There will be three different events participants can partake in. One will simply be a four-mile walk or jog on a flat course. The other two are bike rides, a 12-mile one and 20-mile one.
For each event, the runners and bikers will stop at stations along the course and pick a playing card. By the end, each participant will have developed a full poker hand. Whoever has the best hand in each event receives a cash prize.
“It’s one of our biggest fundraisers,” said chapter President Bruce Souply.
Last year the Poker Run raised over $7,000 for trail maintenance and preservation. Raising the money is important because with the exception of some grant money, state and county workers have no involvement with trail maintenance. It is purely a volunteer effort.
The money does not only help with trail upkeep, but also improvements. According to Souply, a seating area was recently added. He said the money also helps the chapter purchase equipment and put together a yearly newsletter.
Money isn’t solely raised through registration fees, though. Souply said they receive a number of donations from local businesses in the area.
Registration for the event is $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under. Entry forms can be found on the chapter’s website at www.bikewytc.org as well as in the Regional Trail Corporation office in West Newtown. The deadline has passed to receive a free t-shirt for registering, but those interested can register on the day of the event with no price increase.