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Lets Go Snowshoeing

Winter-sports enthusiasts can strap on their skis or snowshoes and hit the trail for the Spearfish Challenge & Poker Tour, set for Feb. 23.

The event, hosted by Black Hills Nordic Ski Club, will take place on the Big Hill Trail and contains five different stations to collect poker cards.

The poker run may only be a few years old, but the Ski Club has been hosting the challenge for several years. It started out as a race series before the ski club decided to host an event to get more people involved.

“We decided to add the poker-tour aspect last year, and it just took off,” said Leslie Wangeman, events coordinator.

This isn’t your typical poker run, however.

Participants will race in one of three different categories; cross-country skis, fat bikes, or snowshoes. Each category has its own trail, which merges at one of five different stations. Each station is sponsored by a local business, and the contestants must complete a ridiculous challenge to earn a card for their hand. Some of this year’s challenges include paintball, taking shots of Tabasco, trying to get ping pong ball into a certain target, and walking around holding an egg on a spoon in their mouths.

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Once all the cards for a hand are collected, prizes are awarded for the best poker hand, worst poker hand and best costume. Prizes include bottles of wine from Valiant Vineyards, gift cards from Scheels, and Norwegian ski apparel brought back from Norway by one of the club members. Participants can also vote at the end to award prizes for the best station.

The Spearfish Challenge race starts at 9 a.m. and includes categories in skate skiing and Nordic skiing. The poker tour will follow at 11 a.m. Registration for the challenge is $24 for ski club members and $25 for non-members. The poker tour is $10 for members, $15 for non-members, $5 for teens, and free for ages 8 and under. Each entry fee includes food from Killian's Food & Drink, and beer from Crow Peak Brewery, while supplies last.

The weekend festivities will come to a close on Feb. 24, with a concert featuring Trout Steak Revival at 8 p.m. at B & B Back Porch in Spearfish. Tickets for the show are $10. All proceeds go to the grooming and maintenance of the Big Hill Trails.

"We're hoping people will come and make a weekend out of it in Spearfish," Wangeman said.

For more information, visit Black Hills Nordic Ski Club’s Facebook page or their website at sites.google.com/view/bhnordicskiclub/home.

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