MONROE TOWNSHIP -- When John Wayne played poker, his horse waited patiently outside the saloon like an escape vehicle on call, just in case the game got serious.

Horses and ponies are invited to join their cowboys and cowgirls in a hand of poker at the Ashtabula County Humane Society's second annual Poker Run and Scavenger Hunt Trail Ride Saturday, beginning at Conneaut Creek Stables, 5517 Hatches Corners Road.

"This year is going to be a lot of fun. I think we learned a lot about organizing the event from last year. The scavenger hunt is going to be a blast," humane agent Kim Hills said.

The event includes a poker run, scavenger hunt, trail ride and a judged obstacle course. Horses and riders can navigate five obstacles along the trail while collecting clues for the scavenger hunt. The ride is judged, with the overall score for a horse-and-rider team based on the number of scavenger-hunt items found, obstacle-course scoring and the mystery poker hand riders will collect as they ride the trail.

"This is something a little different for riders and horses. Our volunteers have really worked hard to make this a fun event for everyone, and it is a great way to raise money for Ashtabula County's animals," Hills said.

All proceeds benefit the Ashtabula County Humane Society. Preregistered riders will be entered into a special drawing. Riders hit the trail between 8:30 a.m. and noon, rain or shine. All horse-and-rider teams must be on the trail by noon.

Registration fee is $15 per rider. Participants can ride as individuals or as two or four-rider teams. Ribbons will be awarded.

For more information, contact Hills at440 645-7277 or e-mail (rsrhiannon@yahoo.com).

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