Submitted by Paul Hill
COARSEGOLD – The Coarsegold-based motorcycle club Sierra Shadow Casters (SSC) is hosting the Sierra Wind Poker Run on Saturday, Sept. 19, in support of the popular Children’s Museum of the Sierra in Oakhurst.
Anyone who rides a street-legal motorcycle is invited to join in the fun for this worthy cause. A poker run is when a group of players ride to five different locations to draw a card from a standard deck of playing cards. The card is recorded on a sheet of paper given to each rider. At the end of the ride, whoever has the high hand wins a cash prize. In this event both High Hand and Low Hand will take home a cash prize.
The 100-mile ride will start at G’mas and Poppa’s Motorcycle Gear located in the Historic Coarsegold Village. The first card draw stop will be the Children’s Museum where riders can see first-hand the benefits of this unique mountain treasure.
The Children’s Museum of the Sierra is one of those rare attractions for children that doesn’t involve bags of quarters, video screens, or frivolous activities. Actually, this 4,000 square foot building is not really a museum in the traditional sense. Here kids don’t just look at boring artifacts with little information plaques they can’t really understand. This “Museum” is a hands-on discovery center geared for kids ages 2 to 12 and their families. The programs are designed to encourage visitor to learn by doing, imagining, creating and making choices.
Jim Elliot, president of the museum, is no stranger to imagination. Jim was hired by Walt Disney (himself) to help design attractions for Disneyland including Small World, the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean among other projects. Some of his hand-crafted work adorns the seemingly endless interactive museum displays.
“The hands-on exhibits can be categorized as teaching scientific principles,” says Jim, “that allows for the child to learn about the world around them through dramatic play or artistic expression.”
Jim pointed out that the Museum tends to have about an $8,000 shortfall annually and is always in need of upkeep as well as adding new exhibits.
The next three card draw stops will be the Forks Resort at Bass Lake, then around the lake back to the Oak Room in Oakhurst for the third card draw. Then it’s off to Knowles and the Hills Pride Inn for the fourth card draw. The final destination is Alfonzos Hideaway Mexican Restaurant in Coarsegold where the last card will be drawn.
At Alfonzo’s, participants will be treated to a delicious meal prepared by Alfonzo himself. Riders can dance off their lunch with live music by “L Train” a very popular Fresno-based band which will play from 1 to 5 p.m. To help raise additional funds, there will be a raffle drawing for about 20 items donated by local and Central Valley businesses. There will also be a 50/50 drawing for an opportunity to take home more cash.
The first 150 registrants will get a very nice Sierra Wind ride pin. Bikers can pre-register online at www.sierrashadowcasters.com or sign up in person on the day of the ride between 8 and 9:30am at G’mas and Poppa’s. The ride leaves at 9:30 a.m. sharp.
For those who do not own a motorcycle, you can still participate by coming to Alfonzo’s at 1 p.m. to enjoy lunch and the other activities. Just $15 per person at the door. Raffle and 50/50 tickets sold separately. It is also a good opportunity to check out the many custom motorcycles that will be on hand.
If you can’t attend at all but want to support this local treasure, you can register for the ride online and simply offer a donation.
“We are pleased to be able to help support such a valuable asset in our community like the Children’s Museum,” says SSC President Mark Aston. “We hope all mountain riders and non-riders will take the time to come out and join us for this fun-filled day. It’s our goal to raise as much as possible for this worthy effort and thereby help kids continue to learn by using their imagination.”