Since 2009, the local motorcycle club Saints & Sinners have held their annual poker run at the end of every summer. A poker run involves participants travelling through a number of checkpoints and drawing a playing card at each one. The person who has the best poker hand at the end is declared the winner.
The Saints & Sinners Poker Run draws motorcycle enthusiasts from inside Prince Albert and beyond. Entry costs $10 a hand, and half of the money raised each year goes to a local charity.
“It’s basically a get-together for everybody,” Saints & Sinners president Bernie Markiewicz said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Harley or a (Japanese) bike or whatever. Everybody gets together and we’re going for a ride, raise some money … It’s basically for the community. That’s what we do it for, and it’s basically just (to) get together and meet people and see old faces, see new faces, and just mingle.”
The P.A.-based biking association has roughly a dozen members, but Saturday’s poker run attracted up to 50 bikers from as far away as the Yukon. Weather tends to have an impact on participation rates, but last weekend’s turnout was substantial.
This year’s run began at the old Eds Inn along Highway 3. Checkpoints took riders from Shell Lake to Lane Lake and back to Shellbrook before returning to the starting point.
It’s just nice to go and … ride on the highway, and forget about your problems and cruise. - Bernie Markiewicz
“It’s good highway all the way,” the club’s Harley-riding vice-president Barry Robertson said. “We usually clip along 90, 100 clicks, something like that, because when you’ve got a pile of people like that, you don’t know some of the riders and that, so you’ve got to sort of watch it.”
Saints & Sinners’ membership is exclusively male, but many of the bikers’ wives come out to support their husbands at the poker run and prepare food such as hamburgers to greet the bikers upon their return.
The club often hosts events such as fundraisers and steak suppers.
“We usually get together maybe about once a month, twice a month,” Markiewicz said. “I don’t know, (we) sit around, play pool, play cards, just hang out, chill, work on each other’s bikes, help each other out, get ready for the next year.”
For Markiewicz, the biggest appeal of riding motorcycles is the sense of freedom one can find on the open road.
“It’s just nice to go and … ride on the highway, and forget about your problems and cruise.”