County of Wetaskiwin residents and beyond are prepping their machines for a day out on Pigeon Lake as the West of the 5th Poker Run readies for its 6th annual run of the event.
This year’s poker run is set for Saturday, Feb. 24.
The annual fundraiser, started by Pigeon Lake resident Corey Kozack and his wife Claudia, raises money for local schools and organizations.
In the past few years, the event has taken off from a small local fundraiser to one that sees participants coming from all over Alberta and even bordering provinces joining in. With snowmobiles, ATVs, side-by-sides and more cruising over the frozen lake, the poker run has become increasingly popular.
“It’s amazing how in six years we have grown from about 50-75 friends to over 1,000 participants at each event the last two years. Who knew our little poker run would be so popular,” said Kozack.
In 2023, over 700 participants registered for the event and over 1,000 guests attended. Kozack says that they are already well on their way to meet those numbers this year.
All card stops for the poker run are on the lake, and this year, there will be five stops.
The poker run will also have a Friday night social this year, where there will be a dinner, band and liquor sales held at the Lakedell Community Hall.
Funds from the Friday event will go towards the Pigeon Lake Regional School Parent Grad Class Committee for the 2024 grad dinner. Tickets for the Friday social are $25 each.
Last year, the event collected over $70,000. Donations went to each of the four local Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools (WRPS) around the lake, Santa’s Elves, the legion, Lakedell Preschool, North and South Pigeon Lake Fire Departments and a couple of smaller organizations.
The fundraising for each of the schools this year will go towards:
Pigeon Lake Regional School
PLRS will be using their funds for their breakfast program, yearbook subsidy, new volleyballs, weight room equipment, archery equipment, U of A and Old’s College open house trips/tours.
Pigeon Lake Parent Grad Class Committee
Funds raised from the pre-event taking place Friday, Feb. 23, will go towards the graduating class of 2024’s grad dinner and celebration.
Pigeon Lake Pre-School
The preschool located at Lakedell School will use funds to support services they provide, including learning and craft supplies.
Pipestone Elementary School
Funds raised for Pipestone School will go towards a variety of educational in-school and outdoor field trips. The Friends of Pipestone Fundraising Committee also states that the funds will also help build new playground equipment and allow staff to purchase school related equipment and supplies.
Falun Elementary School
Falun School will use the funds raised this year for field trips, guest speakers, school equipment, repair of a swing set and new programs for the kids.
Lakedell Elementary School
Lakedell School will use their donations to support experiences and initiatives for the students and more.
“It’s amazing how everybody comes together for our schools. It warms our hearts.”
There are plenty of prizes to be won at the poker run and through its online raffle. A 50/50 will also be ongoing.