Organizers of the first annual Verona Lion’s ATV Poker run did not know what to expect last Saturday morning.
“We had only a few tickets sold in advance and we were wondering if the whole thing was going to be a bust. We were a bit worried because we had vendors coming out for the day and we had a lot of valuable prizes donated and we had also been working hard on the event for a few months. Then, the people started coming,” said Verona Lion’s Club President Eric Maclean.
In the end, over 105 ATV’ers participated in the run, more than anyone had anticipated.
“For the first one, we’d have been happy with 40,” said Frank York, a long time Lion who was one of the volunteers at the poker run.
The route consisted of some 80 kilometers, both on road and off and included a varied selection of surfaces all around the area. The route started with Desert Lake Road, continued on to Hinchinbrooke Road, Westport Road to the K & P Trail, Echo Lake Road, Fish Creek Road, Road 38, 4th Lake Road, Raymo Road, Oak Flats Road and back down the K & P to Verona.
“ATVers came from as far away as Brighton, Ontario. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the variety of trail, backroad scenery and terrain. Many who rode commented how leisurely and well-marked the route was. The canteen was open offering our famous Lion’s burgers with onions and fries and spectators came to eat and peruse the display of new ATVs and side-by-sides offered by local ATV dealers in attendance. And we could not have asked for better weather,” said Maclean.
The ride was so well supported by local businesses that it took over an hour and a half to distribute all the prizes that had been donated.
“We handed out over seventy prizes valued in excess of three thousand dollars. Almost everyone who participated left with something. The three top poker hand winners took home an ATV dump trailer, a backpack leaf blower and a chain saw making for some very happy participants,” said Maclean.
Maclean added that the Lion’s are grateful for the support of Frontenac County which helped them gain the use of the K&P trail from Highway 38 to Craig Road, making for a safer and more enjoyable ride, as well as to the Verona Pentecostal Church for the use of their parking lot.
Craig said that the ride was an overwhelming success.
“On behalf of the Verona Lions Club, I would like to thank our community and volunteers for making this a successful event. The proceeds of this event will be put to work by the Lions right here in this community.”
The Poker Run took place on the weekend after Canada Day, the traditional weekend for the Verona Lion’s Jamboree, which was canceled this year after a 66 year run. The cost of the midway, a key element to the Jamboree, jumped this year and it was no longer viable for the Lion’s to continue running the event.