Poker run routes converge on Slave Lake, Aug. 22

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

As poker runs go, the one happening in northern Alberta starting next week is quite unusual. For one thing, there are nine different routes, starting at various points all over the northern half of the province. For another, they all end at Slave Lake on Aug. 22. Or at least stop there before proceeding to Grande Prairie if they choose. The main beneficiary of the event is the Veterans Memorial Gardens and Interpretive Centre in Grande Prairie.

So why Slave Lake?

“It’s central,” says Sheila Willis of Smith, who had a hand in organizing the event. Among other things (many other things) she is the vice president of the Canadian Motorcycle Tourism Association (CMTA), under whose auspices the Rumble Alberta North Poker Rally is happening.

Another thing unusual about it is that it is not just for motorcycles. Cars are invited to participate too, and the more antique they are, the better.

“We’re inviting antique car clubs to take part,” Willis says.

But don’t take our word for all of this. If you do an internet search for rumblealbertanorth.com a page opens with all nine routes listed, along with other useful information.

“It’s a great thing for tourism,” says Willis.

Willis’s stamp on the event can be clearly seen in a couple of the prize categories. One is for ‘The most selfies taken and uploaded onto History Check app’ and another is for ‘The most photos taken of places with Cree names or words.” These have to be uploaded also to History Check.

Willis had even more to say about it in a written message to The Leader.

“Impact Tourism is excited to be a part of this initiative. As VP of CMTA and project manager of the History Check app, this is a perfect blending of resources to promote travel in northern Alberta and across the province as we move forward.”

Renée Charbonneau is the executive director of the CMTA. She expects between 200 and 400 participants and the plan is to be prepared for 600. It’s being set up so as to reduce the risk of virus transmission, starting with signing up online. The idea is to get everyone together in Slave Lake at around lunchtime on the 22nd. Three different places are designated for picking up the final card (to keep numbers down); these are the Legion, the Visitor Information Centre and the Hotel Northern Star.

“Those who choose,” Charbonneau says, “can continue to Grande Prairie for the ribbon-cutting at the Veterans Memorial Garden.
“We’re very excited,” she says.

The event’s logo.

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