Horseback Poker Run for St. Sebastian park offers hayride run for non-riders

FELLSMERE — Looking for something out of the ordinary to do this weekend? Why not hop on a wagon and take a hayride through St. Sebastian River State Park to play poker and raise money?

Coastal Preserves Alliance and Treasure Coast Trail Riders are gearing up for their 5th Annual Fellsmere Horseback Poker Run fund-raiser for the state park, which will be held Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m.

The groups hope to raise $3,000 for the park to help cover the costs of a portable toilet, signs and help with research materials for the park. “The budget’s been cut like you wouldn’t believe,” said organizer Patti Fuchs, who added that the park was operating on a shoestring budget before the economy fell out.

This year, the organizers are promoting a hayride version of the poker run for non-horse riders and a campout Saturday evening complete with a potluck dinner, karaoke and music.

Camping costs $8 per person and will be held at the Visitor’s Center. Campers are encouraged to bring a dish to pass for the potluck dinner.

The Poker Run is $20 for registration and the first hand. Players can pay $5 for each additional hand.

Horseback players will take one trail through the park, while the hayriders will take another trail. Participants should expect to be out on the trails for an hour and a half to three hours, according to Fuchs.

Riders should also expect to see some wildlife while out in the park, including deer, turkeys, birds of prey and other animals.

“I can’t guarantee anything,” Fuchs said, but added that the first groups out around 9:30 a.m. would have the best chance of seeing the most animals.

Awards, prizes and winners will be announced around 1 p.m., after the last riders return from the poker run.

Lunch will be provided, funded by Fellsmere Feed – the poker run’s biggest sponsor.

Fuchs said that there isn’t a feed store in Indian River or Brevard counties that hasn’t donated at least one item for the door prizes and awards. However, organizers are still accepting more items to hand out.

Fuchs said that anyone who has anything they want to donate can drop the item or items off at the poker run Saturday.

“It doesn’t have to be horsey,” she said.

Hayride participants should plan to be at the park by 9 a.m. to secure a seat on the wagon. Horse riders should be to the park even earlier to get prepared.

Don’t want to take part in the poker run? Non-players are welcome to join in on the Party on thePorch – the campout and festivities at the Visitor’s Center.

Anyone wishing to come to the party should call or e-mail Fuchs so organizers can get a sense of how large the party will be.

More Information: Patti Fuchs, (772) 643-4925 or TreasureCoastTrailRiders@gmail.com; visit www.nbbd.com/npr/cpa.

Directions: I-95 to Exit 156/County Road 512/Fellsmere, travel west on CR 512, turn north of County Road 507 (138th Ave./Babcock St.), cross the C-54 canal and turn right on Buffer Preserve Dr. – Address: 1000 Buffer Preserve Drive.

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