This rider learned a lesson in gambling

After finishing a poker run, Vern Pederson made a risky decision to ride alone—luckily, he made it home safely

by Maureen McEwan

Working a night shift then hitting the trails for an afternoon of riding takes stamina. But when you get stuck—and not once, but four times—on the way home, that takes staying power, resilience and a good sense of humour. 

Vern Pederson of Blairmore can chuckle about that ride now, but he was tired and cold by the time he got home from an afternoon poker run a few years ago.

“I lived not far from where the start of the poker run was, so I decided to take a shortcut over the mountain to get there,” said Pederson, who had just finished working the night shift.

The trail wasn’t well used, there wasn’t much snowpack, plus there were four creek crossings en route. But he made it, and met some buddies who’d agreed to start breaking trail from the other side.

Pederson finished the poker run around 4 p.m., then decided to take the same trail back—a decision he soon regretted.

“I got stuck in all four creek beds, one right after the other,” said Pederson. “After the second creek I contemplated walking, but I forced myself to keep going.”

Pederson said it was a good lesson for him about riding alone. He is a director of the Alberta Snowmobile Association, and he said they always stress not riding on your own. Fortunately, Pederson's friends knew which trail he’d taken and were waiting for his call, which finally came early in the morning.

“I didn’t get home till after midnight and I was soaked to the skin,” said Pederson. “I don’t think anyone can top this one for awhile.” 

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