By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ Staff Writer
Despite heavy rains, Badlands Motorcycle Rally organizers figured out a way Saturday morning to keep a motorcycle rally tradition alive — a “Poker Run” in which motorcyclists pick up poker cards at various stopovers on a prescribed route.
Poker Run winner Amy Campbell of Clovis took a shorter route offered by organizers due to flash flood warnings on Friday night. Campbell said she’s been riding with her husband for about 15 years, usually as a passenger on the back of his motorcycle.
“I love getting on the back and enjoy spending time with my husband,” Campbell said. “It’s the ultimate freedom.”
According to the Clovis poker run rules, the participant with the highest poker hand wins $3,000.
“A Poker Run is fun, but a poker run with a chance to win $3,000 is a lot of fun,” said Sarah Zufelt, general manager of High Plains Harley-Davidson in Clovis and organizer of the Badlands Motorcycle Rally.
Campbell said she doesn’t yet know what she will do with her winnings but will probably invest them.
Zufelt said Poker Runs began as a motorcycle rally tradition to introduce the bikers to interesting places they might not otherwise see.
“You get to see different scenery,” Zufelt said. “It just kind of breaks up the ride and is a fun way to spend time with friends.”
When organizers learned that the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque issued a flood warning Friday night, they began to be concerned that the planned 200-mile route on back roads connecting Clovis with Farwell, Muleshoe, Morton, Texas, Griffith, Texas, Causey, Dora, Elida, and Melrose could become hazardous. A last-minute alternative route was offered taking Highway 70 to Portales and Elida, then north on Highway 330 and 267 to Melrose, and back to Clovis on Highway 60.
Bikers were allowed to take either route or even pick five cards in Clovis without going out on the Poker Run at all. Winning is based on the luck of the draw, Zufelt said, and participants didn’t have any advantage if they went on the shorter run or simply selected cards without leaving Clovis.