By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
For those looking to have a good time Saturday night and help a good cause, the Liberal Elk’s Lodge will be the place to be.
The Crossroads Theraputic Riding Center will be hosting its annual Texas Hold ’Em Poker Tournament at the Elks Lodge Saturday Night.
Registration will begin that afternoon at 4 p.m. with poker play beginning at 5 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $25 to get in and then a second chance buy-in with a suggested donation of $15.
There will also be door prizes given away throughout the evening from local merchants that contain a variety of items from hair care products to tools and gift certificates.
The poker tournament was started eight years ago and Crossroads co-founder Joe Denoyer said it has been a success every year, with an average of 75 to 100 people in attendance and an average of $2,500 to $3,000 raised.
“At about that time, Texas Hold-‘Em was getting really popular, and we were looking for different ways to raise funds – we had done silent auctions, and we’d had dinners, and we do the Grif Golf Course with Kids, Inc.,” Denoyer said. “We were looking for something different, so this came up in a meeting, and we decided to try it, and it was very successful. It’s been very beneficial for Crossroads to do this because there are a lot of people here who like to play Texas Hold-‘Em.”
The Crossroads Therapeutic Riding Center does not charge clients for services, which makes fundraising especially important, according to Denoyer. Recent drought conditions over the last couple of years have also made things difficult. Rena Cross, co-founder of Crossroads Therapeutic Riding Center, said the tournament is the center’s biggest fundraiser.
“This helps keep the support of our students to ride for another year,” Cross said.
“Fundraisers, United Way and donations are how we maintain operations,” Denoyer emphasized. “Of course, the last couple years with the drought, it’s been tougher to find feed so funds have become very important and then, of course, as the horses get older, there’s maintenance like shots and things like that. Then there is extra care that has to be given as well and then, of course, regular maintenance of the horses. Things start to add up.”
The tournament has another unique aspect to it – it will be run and moderated by professionals who run this type of tournament regularly.
Even with the amount of other events going on this weekend, including the High Plains Music Festival in Hugoton and the “Kansas, B.C.” presentation being given by the Seward County Historical Society, Denoyer said he still expects a good turnout to Saturday night’s tournament. However, those who are unable to attend will still be able to support the center, which takes donations all year in forms of money, riding equipment and once, Denoyer said, horse-quality bales of hay were donated to the center. Cross added people can support the center by volunteering and people don't have to know anything about the horses
“I would encourage people to make the short drive to Crossroads at some time during a session so they can see what’s going on and what’s being accomplished out there,” Denoyer said. “Once they do that, they will be hooked.”
“I would just like to thank our community for a great 15 years and for having our back, and we love you all very very much,” Cross added.