In February, we reviewed the ATV events slated for the year in Utah. The Tri-State Jamboree was held last month in Hurricane. Attended by a record number of riders, it continues to be a hit in the ATV community nationwide.

Next up is a poker run in the San Rafael Swell. I called Robert Pahl for more information on the ride. He explained that the date had been set for the last Saturday of April — the 28th. He also said that this is the 19th year of the running of the ATVs in the Swell.

It was easy to get caught up in his excitement for the poker run. Last year, they attracted 150 riders and offered 240 prizes. They try to make sure that all the riders go home with something.

That may seem like a lot of people, but the start times are staggered to space out riders and enhance the enjoyment of the run. They don’t do a shotgun start — someone might get hurt.

Those who have not participated in a poker run may like to know how it works. A participant will pay $10 to play a hand of poker. The first hand is mandatory to participate. Additional hands can be purchased at $5 a hand, with no limit to the number of hands a person would like to play.

A poker run is an easy way to showcase a trail. Five stops are planned along the route highlighting outstanding features of the area. This makes the track fun and memorable.

A playing card is drawn at each stop and a punch is made on a tag carried by the rider. Everyone has an equal chance to make a good hand because everyone draws from the same deck and there is no discard.

At the end of the ride, the best hand gets first pick of the prizes. The next best hand gets the next pick and so on.

You won’t know how your hand compares because everyone else will show their best poker faces. Don’t be surprised if you are surprised. Last year, king-high hands were winning prizes.

It has been more than 10 years since I rode The Poker Run. It was managed then by the Southeastern OHV Club.

Held in April, I picked up a friend in Milford and we camped out at the staging area on the north end of the Swell. It is known as the corral because that is what it is.

We were camped out on the perimeter of the group. I guess we disturbed the area a little in setting up camp and cooking our meal because I found a scorpion perched on the side of my truck tire. I used a flashlight to tidy up our site when my beam illuminated the critter. It was an eerie sight because it literally glowed in the light.

I had never seen one in real life, so that was a new experience. It didn’t help me sleep well, but dawn came anyway and we were up for the ride.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., so it is a good idea to camp at the site or stay in a town nearby. Prizes for the best poker hands are awarded at 3 p.m.

Two clubs have joined together to form the Castle Country OHV Association, boasting a membership of over 200. The new club plans to make the poker run even bigger and better.

It is unique in that a large portion of it runs along the rim of the Buckhorn Wash. Views down into the wash are picturesque and worth bringing a camera.

Robert said, “We used to run this trail the same way every year, but now we are changing things up to improve the ride. We have added new sections and ride the trail from different directions.”

Signs will direct you to the corral. Specific directions are found at the club website:

The chances for pleasant temperatures are good for this ride. This track is suitable for both ATVs and UTVs. When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and enjoy a pretty ride in the Swell.

You can email Lynn Blamires at

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