By: CJ Rena Johnson
2nd Annual Western York County
Ducks Unlimited ATV Poker Run
Conservation at its Finest
Open Fields to Really Open It Up
What do Ducks Unlimited and an ATV Poker Run
have in common?
ATV Poker Runs, most often held as a way to
raise funds for worthy causes, definitely held
true in this case because in our view, wetland
conservation is definitely a very worthy cause.
That is what Ducks Unlimited is all about:
waterfowl and wetland conservation.
Is Ducks Unlimited just about hunting?
Ducks Unlimited, started back in 1937 as a means
to deal with an unprecedented low population of
waterfowl, got its start with just a few
sportsmen. This was during the “Dust Bowl,” when
North America was plagued with a drought so
severe it was affecting the continent’s
waterfowl, among other things, almost beyond
repair. Ducks Unlimited had one mission in mind
when it started. That mission was habitat
Ducks Unlimited, started by a few sportsmen,
is now the largest private waterfowl and
wetlands conservation organization in the world.
Wetland conservation benefits not only the
waterfowl, but also helps the overall health of
our environment, purifying water supplies,
reducing soil erosion, preventing floods,
preserving ecosystems and providing critical
habitat to more than 900 wildlife species.
Work Still To Be Done
The United States loses more than 80,000 acres
of wetlands each year. As a result, it has
already lost more than half of its original
wetland areas. We all need organizations like
Ducks Unlimited to help us reverse this trend.
Their willingness to step outside the box and
work with other groups, such as the off-road
recreational vehicle communities, gives even
more hope to this cause.
Oil Spill Rehabilitation
Ducks Unlimited, including the Western York
County chapter, have offered their services to
help with the rehabilitation of any animals,
especially waterfowl that need it due to the
recent oil spill in the gulf. They always make
themselves available during times of need to
help in any way they can.
Off-roaders and Tree huggers all wrapped
up in one ... who would have thought it?
Conservationists and Recreational Vehicle
Enthusiasts working Together
Although often, on opposite sides of the battle,
I always knew if these two groups could find a
way to work together, amazing things could be
These two great communities each do a tremendous
amount of work to help preserve our national,
federal and state forests, as well as our parks
and recreational areas. I know firsthand since I
am a very active member of both groups. I
believe we can all work together to have peace
and to promote a cleaner, better earth for us
all to share.
As the largest wetland conservationist group in
the world, Ducks Unlimited has found a way to
work together with the largest group of off-road
enthusiasts in a very productive way.
Western York County Ducks Unlimited
The Western York County chapter of Ducks
Unlimited (WYCDU) is taking that stance as well.
The WYCDU is a leading chapter in the upstate of
SC. They take the initiative to go the extra
mile to do all they can to raise funds and
awareness for waterfowl and wetland conservation
on all levels. The creativity and passion among
the WYCDU members is evident at every event and
in all they do. The Western York County Ducks
Unlimited ATV Poker Run was no different.
Station to Pick Up Poker Cards
Wooded Trails at Ducks Unlimited ATV
The Poker Run Event
The 2010 WYCDU ATV Poker Run began on Saturday
morning, August 14 at 10 a.m. at the Wood Duck
Club in York, SC.
Upon arriving, the first thing we noticed was
the adequate parking. There was a large field
with parking on both sides. The staff on hand
told us to go ahead and park so we could ride
our off-road vehicle down to the registration
area. We found the perfect spot and parked out.
As we started down the road on our Polaris RZR,
we saw another large field on each side of the
road that was obviously set up for camping.
The registration booth was well equipped and
fully staffed so it was easy to register for the
ride or to purchase poker hands and T-shirts
that were available. We signed in and started
out on the trail to have some fun and to learn
all we could about this great cause as well as
to get some great shots.
The first place we went was to the mud bog down
at Station 2. A huge variety of enthusiasts were
waiting their turn to show what they and their
vehicle could do, or not do, as the case might
have been. We saw side-x-sides and ATVs both try
their luck at getting across. This was no simple
mud hole. This bog took a lot of skill, not to
mention a fair portion of luck, to get through.
I saw a few people get through it but even more
who crashed and burned. After the crowd dwindled
a bit there, we continued around the 12 miles of
trails. There was everything from open roadways
and fields where you could really open it up, to
creek crossings and hill climbs and some rougher
terrain to test your skills.
The event this year was a lot more successful
than it was the first year. The trail system and
bogs were more of a challenge and the
entertainment was better, even with the rain on
Saturday night. The food from Courtney’s BBQ of
Clover, SC was great, especially the BBQ and
French-fries. The poker run winners got some
awesome prizes, including a Stoeger Condor
Over/Under 12 ga. Shotgun, a Marlin .22 Cal.
Rifle, a YETI Ducks Unlimited cooler and 4-piece
hunting bag set. The best poker hand holder got
first choice of the prizes, followed by 2nd
place and 3rd places getting their pick in order
and 4th place got the remaining item. Had there
been a tie on any of the hands, they would have
settled it with the draw of a high card.
There was also an additional 52 raffle tickets
sold for $20 each for a chance to win a Mossberg
.270 cal. rifle with a scope and hard case. They
also gave away other door prizes throughout the
After all the riding was done on Saturday, there
was an after party with live entertainment and a
corn hole tournament, at least until the rain
started. Swimming and fishing was also available
Riders could pay $10 just to come and ride.
However, the recommended package for the event
was $50, which included the driver entry fee, a
t-shirt, a Ducks Unlimited membership and one
poker hand. You could also purchase additional
poker hands for $10 each. Camping was also
available at $15 per tent/camper for Friday and
Draining out the water or practicing for
the afterparty dancing later?
Q & A with WYCDU Representative Adam Shumate
I had the great pleasure to interview the event
organizer Adam Shumate. He was very informative
and obviously loves what he does for Ducks
Unlimited. You can tell by listening to him that
he feels very strongly about this cause.
CJ: How many people attended the event?
Adam: 250 people attended.
CJ: During this event, how much money did WYCDU
Adam: We raised close to $8,000 for Ducks
CJ: What was the winning hand for the
Adam: Four Jacks!
CJ: What was the highlight of the event?
Adam: The highlight of the event was
definitely that the community once again came
out to support our mission of wetland and
waterfowl conservation. We had a safe day of fun
with a lot of new people that got to experience
what Ducks Unlimited and more specifically, what
Western York County Ducks Unlimited is all
CJ: Are your plans for another one just
like it next year?
Adam: Absolutely! We plan to do an ATV Poker Run
next year…..just larger!
CJ: What would you like to see more of next
Adam: I would love to see more children. We had
quite a few this year. Our event is a great way
for families to experience a day of safe ATV
riding and also teach the children the
importance of conservation.
CJ: Do you plan to do something different
Adam: I would love to work in a nighttime
mud bog and race. This would be a focal point to
CJ: Anything you would like to add about the
event or about the other work DU does or the
misconceptions about what Ducks Unlimited is?
Adam: Many believe that Ducks Unlimited is a
hunting club or clothing brand. It is true; many
do. We are not either. We are the world’s
largest wetland conservation group. Eighty cents
of every dollar raised goes directly towards
conservation. The other 20% is for
administration costs and advertising for events.
We are efficient and direct in our approach. We
want to preserve what God gave us for our
children and theirs. Our chapter in York, SC
holds many different types of events every year.
We have a dedicated group of volunteers that
work hard for our cause. We are in the schools
teaching about the importance of respectable
hunting and the importance of what we have.
CJ: Were the 52 tickets for the Mossberg all
sold and who won that prize?
Adam: The raffle tickets sold quickly! Patrick
Wiley of York, SC won!
Polaris RZR fans at Ducks Unlimited
CJ: What were some of the other door prizes
Adam: Jamie Smith of York and a volunteer of our
chapter constructed a set of corn hole boards.
They were beautiful and truly one of a kind.
They were camouflage with a Ducks Unlimited
theme. We quickly sold those tickets and a lucky
guy took them home that night. We gave away a
YETI Ducks Unlimited cooler, Marlin .22 rifle, Stoeger Over/Under 12ga. Shotgun, Ducks
Unlimited hunting and travel bag set, and many
t-shirts and hats!
3rd Annual WYCDU ATV Poker Run 2011
We definitely plan to be there again next year.
We look forward to working more with Ducks
Unlimited between now and then to help promote
peace between the two groups and to work
together to have a better, healthier world to
live in for all of us, from waterfowl to humans.
For more information about the Poker Run or the
Western York County Ducks Unlimited, you can
call 803-487-4924 or email them at
You can snail mail them at WYCDU P.O. Box 87,
York, S.C. 29745. You can also check out their
www.WYCDU.com. The main website for Ducks
More pictures are available online at
Ducks Unlimited ATV Poker Run . If you were
there and didn’t get a T-shirt, there are still
some available and can be purchased by calling
(803) 487-4924 or by stopping by Dunlap-Johnson
Chevrolet in York, SC and asking for Joe.