By: Vince Clark
After last years highly successful poker derby, hopes were even higher for this year’s iteration. With the area receiving a more than adequate amount of snow for the first time in a few years, trail conditions were perfect.
A short jaunt from Powerview towards the beaches, to the shack known as the halfway hut, was the first leg. The riders then backtracked to the Papertown for stop number two. After a quick stop at Clark’s Corner for fuel, it was off to the Maskwa Clubhouse, across the Winnipeg river, along Broadlands road, and down bear river, to one of the largest snowmobile clubhouses in Manitoba. Following that, the riders headed for Camp 29, which is located down one of the most scenic trails in the area, Trail 220.
The 36-kilometre trail winds through the lush evergreens, snaking its way to the hidden gem of a warmup shack. Situated on a large rock, the shack is small yet roomy, and even features a heated outhouse with two stalls. The club is planning to slightly relocate and expand this shack in the near future, as the surrounding swamps unpredictable freezing has caused headache on and off for several years.
The trail then loops back to the Maskwa clubhouse, via a former logging road, known as road 24. This trail is much faster than trail 220, but similarly scenic. The trail features several significant elevation changes, and though some of these drops are steep, the trail is very smooth.
Back at the clubhouse, the club had arranged a full fledge canteen, featuring smokies and burgers generously donated by Hometown Sausage, desserts generously donated by Sunrise Bakery, as well as coffee, hot chocolate and other beverages.
Of course, it’s called a poker derby for a reason. At each stop, riders picked identical poker chips out of bag, which were labelled with card numbers and suits, to create “decks”. Riders collected one “card” from each stop to create a “hand”, which was then filled out on a large card. At the end of the day, whomever had the best poker hand would win prize money. There were 50/50 tickets available at each stop as well.
Despite the frigid morning temperatures, although they gave way to a beautiful winter afternoon, scaring off some riders, the attendance was great. Approximately 70 snowmobilers participated. The Maskwa Snowmobile club would like to thank everyone for attending, as well as the volunteers for manning the stops all day. The club would also like to congratulate the winners, Adam Pepin who took home the grand prize, Logan Oversby, who took home second place and J.P. Bourgeois who took home third, as well Diane Cure who was the lucky 50/50 winner.