History of this Classic Desert Poker Run

The original Barstow Poker Run was held in October 1983 as a Toys For Tot's fund raiser. The event was run 'on road' from the Slash X Cafe in Barstow, California to Big Bear Lake and back. The Poker Run was something new to Barstow and proved to be very popular with bikers who loved to ride and also raise funds for toys for children in need.

Because of the enthusiasm generated by the poker run, the organizers realized an event open to both two and four wheel vehicles would be even more popular. In April 1984 the first desert poker run was held in the Stoddard Valley off road area behind the Slash X Cafe. This initial desert event drew well over 100 entries. The rest is history. The Poker Runs have grown over the years and now draws many riders and drivers each time the event is held.

The two Poker Runs are conducted by four individuals who comprise Hi-Desert Charities, a 501 C 3 charitable organization approved by both the State of California and the I.R.S. Monies raised in the April poker run go to benefit the physically and mentally challenged who are centered at B.E.S.T. Opportunities (Barstow Employment Specialized Training)in Barstow. 

Monies raised in the November poker run go toward the Toys For Tots campaign in the high desert. Toys For Tots furnishes toys at Christmas time and throughout the year to needy children. There are no salaries taken by anyone! All monies raised go the needy and deserving!

Information can be obtained throughout the year by calling Connie Wessel at (760) 252-3093 or by contacting the Slash X Cafe at (760) 252-1197, Cell phone (760) 596-2065 A mailing list has been maintained and previous participants are notified by a flyer at least a month in advance of each of the two poker runs. Anyone who desires to be on the mailing list can add their name by calling Connie Wessel at the above number. Participants who sign up and ride in the poker run are automatically added to the mailing list.

Stoddard Valley

pictures from the BLM web site