Hi-Lo’s Poker Run

Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s Poker Run

For almost 30 years, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s have put on a four wheel drive Poker Run in the Sierras. This one day tradition brings together many clubs and families for a trip through the mountains, good food and a hearty raffle.

Participants usually arrive at the camp area at Wolf Creek on Highway 4 outside of Markleeville, CA on Friday afternoon. Some flat tow their rigs behind motorhomes, some trailer behind a pick-up and some drive to and from the event.

The Hi-Lo’s offer a simple but awesomely delicious chicken rice bowl for a Friday night dinner that is not part of the Poker Run package.

Saturday morning, there are muffins, coffee, orange juice and bottled water for the participants. For those who didn’t check in Friday afternoon, the registration table opens around breakfast time to check in. From there, each rig must go through a safety check that checks for the Cal4 requirements as well as checking for leaking fluids and loose equipment.

The rigs start lining up along the edge of Highway 4 early. We send groups of ten rigs at a time, every fifteen minutes, starting at 8am to prevent a ‘parade’ through Markleeville that could disrupt the quiet sierra town.

Along the trail, traditionally the Deer Valley Trail through the Blue Lakes area, we have four spotters at certain sections. As well as helping rigs through the hard spots, the spotters mark your ticket for the ‘poker’ aspect of the run.

During the last few years, we have had to alter and even cancel the trip do to insurance issues, closed trails and once, years ago, delay the run due to weather. The closure was due to the Eldorado National Forest ruling that the Deer Valley Trail had sections that did not meet the Standard & Guideline 100 for meadows. Through traffic will not be allowed until those sections are repaired. We have found a new route to use until the Deer Valley Trail can be repaired and reopened.

At least two Hi-Lo rigs follow the last participants through the trail to make sure nobody get left behind. Any issues can be radioed back to camp via one of the many ham radios among the Hi-Lo’s and the participants.

Our Poker Run is famous for its Saturday night steak dinner. Since we run fewer rigs and have fewer participants, we take the time and make the effort to create a really good steak rub, accompanying side dishes and a great over all meal.

Right after dinner, the participants gather around the prize trailer. We don’t give away the flatbed car hauler but it’s piled with prizes including a set of tires. Not even a down pour could dampen the spirits of the crowd and we have had down pours.

The winner of the poker hand is announced and then we get right in to the raffle.

From Safeway to Ken’s tires, as well as the local Les Schwab tire store and every member of the Hi-Lo’s, we get a lot of donated prizes. The raffle seems to go on forever but only for the Hi-LO’s member on the microphone.

The majority of the proceeds from the Poker Run get donated to the community through a variety of events. The year after the Angora Fire, we donated every penny of profit to the Angora Fire Victims Fund. The Hi-Lo’s also help sponsor the ‘sober graduation’ at the local high school.

This year is the 25th Gambler’s Poker Run and will take place Saturday, August 16 2014. To check out a complete list of last year’s sponsors and to register for this year’s event please visit our website at http://www.laketahoehilos.com.

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