IMPERIAL VALLEY — Equestrian riders and friends of law enforcement gathered on a ditch bank just off Highway 115 for an enjoyable countryside horseback riding excursion early Sunday morning. The annual Sheriff’s Posse Poker Ride attracted dozens to try their luck at a winning poker hand, while also chowing down on good food and creating good memories.
Prior to the start of the event, each rider was dealt two cards for a five-card draw game, picking up three more cards at various stops to complete their hands. At the end of the ride, the participant with the best poker hand hand took the top prize.
Mary Harmon, one of the riders, brought an unusual partner with her on the poker run, “Flat Stanley,” a paper doll.
“Flat Stanley was sent to me by my granddaughter, Annie, from Newport,” Harmon explained.
The second grader’s assignment was to send Flat Stanley to someone adventurous, have them photograph the event, and send Flat Stanley back along with the story of his adventure.
“So here he is!” Harmon laughed and pointed to the cut-out paper doll pinned to her back.
Tina Wills, retired from the California Highway Patrol, bought her raffle tickets from the former Sheriff’s liaison to the posse, Yvonne Naud, and both soon recognized each other from a previous case in which they had worked together.
Another rider, Mitch Kellum, included his three young children for the outing, Drew, Landon and Mallori. At six years old, Drew was the youngest poker player of the day.
Many others had law enforcement backgrounds while some felt privileged being able to assist the Sheriff’s office in their work. Talk could be overheard as posse members spoke of the upcoming fair and their time-honored role of serving as mounted patrol to police the fairgrounds.
Manning the oversized grill and throwing bacon down on the hot stove for the meal that followed the ride, Ron Rock recalled helping the Sheriff’s department in Big Bear on a search and rescue mission.
“We spent five days on horseback, looking for a lost young man who had become separated from his family while camping. It is an honor to be of service,” Rock said.
Soon the Posse and friends were saddled up and in unison, headed back down a country road with the sun in their faces and the wind at their backs, ready to create more memories for themselves and for Flat Stanley.[envira-gallery id=”72692″]