Beatty’s Strozzi VFW post hosting annual poker run

The Strozzi VFW Post 12108 in Beatty is hosting the third annual Bullfrog Historical Mining District Poker Run on Saturday.

The 50-mile course has been redesigned and is not identical to the past two runs. It is made for 4x4s and utility-terrain vehicles and will traverse the backcountry surrounding Beatty.

Karl Olson, the organizer of the poker run, has always enjoyed history and geology so it’s no surprise that course weaves as much local history and geology into it.

“My whole life I have enjoyed history,” he said. “I loved history, geology and science growing up.”

Olson grew up in Pennsylvania where coal mining was prevalent. And this is probably why he has an affinity for the mines out here. His grandfather and uncle both worked in the mines and even took him down into a Pennsylvania coal mine.

Then after a late start he went and did some geological research in the ocean around Alaska.

“After working for 20 years in construction management a friend of mine got me interested in the sea,” Olson said. “So I started as a deckhand and slowly got all my licenses and then captained my own vessel. I took researchers out looking for oil and other things.”

Olson said the run itself was inspired by something similar done to save the Belmont Courthouse.

“They had a similar fundraiser,” Olson said. “It was shorter but I said to myself, ‘look what we could do in Beatty’.”

The run comes with a topographical map provided and created by Elaine Ezra of Terra Spectra Geomatics in Las Vegas. There is also a detailed guidebook written by Genne Nelson, a geologist, who works for the National Park Service and is familiar with the area.

“I like the way it’s laid out,” Bob Marchand, a Beatty off-road enthusiast said. “It’s a nice ride and has a historical aspect to it and it’s well planned. We have a group that does this every year and we spend the day doing this and then eat at the barbecue afterward.”

While driving through the course, explorers will go through geology that predates Precambrian age and takes you through the Pleistocene time periods. One will also pass into the gold rush days and ride the railroad grade of the Bullfrog/Goldfield railroad of the 1900s. You will also ride a stagecoach route, pass through mining sites and a ranch that dates back to the 1800s.

The run

■ The reception gets underway today, Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Strozzi post at 300 W. Main St. It’s a chance to show off your four-wheel-drive vehicle and just exchange stories.

■ The Poker Run is on Saturday and will kick off with a VFW pancake breakfast from 7-9 a.m., and then registration for the run will be from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. and the cost is $25. Proceeds this year will benefit the Tonopah Search and Rescue team and the local radio club. Both organizations have helped out with the run for the past three years.

■ Award ceremony at 6:30 p.m., with a chance at $500 cash or an Echo 316 Semi Auto. There will also be prizes for the second and third best hand.

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