1st-ever Rotary Poker Run comes to North Routt

The Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs is hosting its first Rotary Poker Run to raise money for local businesses and LiftUp of Routt County. (Getty Images/stock)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs is hosting its first Rotary Poker Run on March 20. The socially-distanced event will be held in partnership with the Steamboat Lake Snow Club in the North Routt and Steamboat Lake area.

The event will be held outside on snowmobiles and involves participants riding their snowmobiles to various checkpoints to draw a playing card at each one. The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run.

Participants can choose either Route A, with a $50 registration fee, or Route B with a $100 registration fee. Route A riders will receive five cards during their ride while Route B riders will receive seven cards. Additional hands and cards can be purchased online for an added donation.

The best hand for Route A will win a cash prize of $500, and the best hand for Route B will win $1,000. Additional prizes will be offered for both routes.

It was event co-chair Eric Rabesa who came up with the idea for the event when he purchased a snowmobile and enjoyed riding it this past winter. With many Rotary Club fundraising events canceled over the past year due to the pandemic, it occurred to Rabesa that a snowmobile poker run would be a perfect event to raise money for organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19.

Together with co-chair Brett Allison, the two organized the fundraiser, which will support local businesses and LiftUp of Routt County. A portion of the money raised will be used to purchase gift certificates, which will be used as prizes during the event, to places such as restaurants, gyms, the movie theater and Strings Music Festival. The remainder of the money raised will go directly to LiftUp.

“I believe fundraisers are always important, especially the events that can have an immediate financial impact to those who need it most in our local community,” Allison said.

He pointed out that COVID restrictions have prevented fundraising, as events are typically social and require close interaction. The Poker Run, by its design, allows people to be outside and manage personal contact.

“This is a great way to infuse cash back into our local economy and help out,” Allison said.

Prior to COVID-19, the Rotary Club’s annual spring fundraiser was a cornhole tournament, which Allison said has been a great success in the past. The club hopes to resume the event in 2022, and they also hope the Poker Run sticks around in winters to come.

“We believe the Poker Run could be a great annual event for the community in bringing snowmobile enthusiasts from all over to participate,” Allison said. “Our plan for next year is to increase the community involvement by including a hiking course, Nordic course and possible fat bike course for all to enjoy.”

Participants can bring their own snowmobiles or rent one from or; Hahns Peak Roadhouse will be open for business, serving food and drinks. For more event information, visit

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