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The Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter of the Regional Trail Corporation will hold its Annual Poker Run on Labor Day, Monday, September 1.

The walking/biking non-competitive event will start at the Arthur H. King Access Area of the Youghiogheny River Trail in West Newton. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used by trail volunteers to maintain, preserve and enhance the Youghiogheny River Trail section of the Great Allegheny Passage.

The Poker Run consists of three events. All cyclists are required to wear an ANSI- or SNELL-approved helmet at these events:

1) A walking, jogging, wheelchair-optional, four-mile flat course.

2) A level 12-mile bike ride that runs south along the Youghiogheny River to Smithton Beach and back. 3) An endurance 20-mile bike ride that runs south along the Youghiogheny River Trail to Whitsett and back.

The Poker Run is not a race. Participants walk or ride at their own pace taking as little time, or up to two hours, to finish their course. At checkpoints throughout the course, participants will pick a playing card to develop a poker hand. At the end of the course each poker hand is tallied and the person with the best hand in each of the three events receives a cash prize award.

Afterwards, a raffle is conducted and all participants are eligible to win more than 75 door prizes of various kinds and values that have been donated by regional businesses and merchants who support the trail and what the trail brings to our area. A bicycle is the grand prize giveaway. There will also be a half-the-take drawing.

Many people are unaware that the trail is not maintained by county or state workers, but by volunteer effort. The Poker Run is the major fundraiser for the volunteer maintenance of the 10.5 miles of trail that runs through Westmoreland County. People come from all around the southwest region to enjoy the scenery, smell the early morning air along the river, enjoy the camaraderie of the event and have a chance to win the 75-plus prizes.

The Poker Run entry forms may be picked up at the Regional Trail Corporation office in West Newton (located in West Newton Station), from the bulletin boards along the trail, from the many supporting businesses in the region and on the website www.bikewytc.org.

The cost is $20 per person, and $10 for children age ten and under. Each participant who registers before August 15th receives a short-sleeved moisture-wicking Poker Run t-shirt. The event is held rain or shine, no refunds. For additional information, call 724-872-5586 or visit www.bikewytc.org (no increase for event day registration). Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the event starts at 9 a.m.

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