Intrepid Travelers

Carson Kniess, Chris Moore and Randy Moore prepare for the Side-by-Side Poker Run. Photo by Stan Schwartz

Donations go to improve the town’s park

FRANKFORD—Despite the constant rain and cold temperature, hundreds of people and their four-wheel drive machines turned up for the third annual Frankford Side-by-Side Poker Run on Saturday.

The side by side, all terrain vehicles were as varied as the people driving and riding in them. Some were enclosed and as comfortable as a car, but most were open, leaving the passengers exposed to the elements, which is why most were wearing full rain suits. The biggest hassle was that most of the vehicles did not have windshield wipers, and in the constant downpour, that made the dive a little tricky.

Still, everyone was willing and able to get underway.

Toni Doggett and her husband, Glen, hosted the poker run on their land just south of Frankford. The start and finish of the run was in one of their hay fields. There were even a few food vendors serving up some hot grub for the hungry travelers.

The money raised, she said, is for improvements at Frankford’s park. The Frankford Park Board applied for grants, she added, but they are matching grants, so the more money they can raise, the more grant money they are eligible for.

“We’ve applied for one grant and we have another one in the works,” she said. “This is put on by the Frankford Park Board,” she added, but they were letting everyone use their hay field for the start and finish of the event.

“The goal is to raise money for equipment,” she said. “We’re not specific to the park,” she added. “We can do things (improvements) around town, too. We made sure that was in our bylaws.” There are other improvements they could use the money for, as well.

Doggett said the final count was 412 registered participants riding in 160 side-by-sides drove through 3-inches of rain during in the day’s events.

“For our first year, we had about 225. Last year we had 511. And this year, if it wasn’t for this rain, we had 1,400 people interested in participating. But there’s still quite a few people here,” she said.

They had set up several start times for the participants. Each group would head out with a guide to take them to the checkpoints throughout the course. At each checkpoint people would have activities to take part in, and time to rest and use the portable restrooms during the 60-mile run.

Doggett said the route they picked out would keep the participants on surface roads, either paved or gravel. With the heavy rain and it being spring, they didn’t want to take a chance on anyone getting stuck, so no off-road adventures this time.

“Last year we did it in the summer, so we could have a little more adventurous route,” she said.

Her goal for the day, she said, was to stay at the starting point and help with the admin part of the poker run, but would go out if needed.

Three intrepid travelers, Carson Kniess, Chris Moore and Randy Moore were dressed for the elements and ready to ride. Randy said this was the first time for him at this event.

“We wanted to wait for a nice day to do this,” Randy said with a wry smile, as the rain poured off of his rain jacket. He remarked about the need for windshield wipers on his powerful ATV, noting that he had done a test drive around to see how well he could see. “I wanted to see if we could do this. I couldn’t, but we’re going to do it anyway.” Luckily, everyone was required to go slow and stay close together along the route. But Randy did add, “If I’m in the lead, the whole group is in trouble.”

Brett Hamilton gave the drivers the rules of the road for the day’s events. She thanked everyone for coming out and wanted everyone to stay safe so they could have a great day.

“Obey the laws and stay off private property,” she said. “Be responsible and don’t pass each other. Be smart and be safe,” she added. At each stop, the participants would receive playing cards in a sealed bag. They were admonished not to open them along the way, but were supposed to return them to see if they had a winning hand at the end of the event. There were also raffle tickets being sold to win a wheelbarrow full of booze. Kelsey Young from Troy won the wheelbarrow and the booze

Doggett said she was happy with the turnout for the event, despite the rain. They look forward to doing this again next year.

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