Sunday, March 6, the Panoche Inn will be the end point for a Poker Run and Raffle put on by the San Joaquin-Tranquility LIONS Club of Fresno County. The public is invited to the barbeque regardless of involvement in the Poker Run.
Drivers are expected to return from the run for the barbeque at the Panoche Inn starting around 2:00pm for hamburgers or tri-tip sandwiches. According to Panoche Inn owner Larry Lopez, the annual event started with around 30-35 showing up for the barbeque. Last year, Lopez says around 250 people came for the meal. The Inn is licensed for beer only and also serves a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
The Panoche Inn is a little over an hour’s drive from Hollister. The road from Hollister is narrow and steep in some sections and can be slow going in the rain. The Panoche Valley is the huge, flat plateau known for the planned Panoche Valley Solar Farm. Currently, there is very little Solar Farm activity visible. The large flat valley shows the result of this winter’s rain and is currently being enjoyed by a small herd of cattle grazing wildflowers and lush green grass.
This is the 30th anniversary for the San Joaquin-Tranquility LIONS Club poker run. Fairless says around 100 vehicles would be expected on a normal, dry weekend. Expected rain could change things.
Contestants will head out in Four-wheel drive vehicles to the old town of New Idria and back for the Poker Run, then barbeque. Organizers are stressing the point that Four-wheel drive will be critical for what is expected to be a muddy day.
Anyone interested in the Poker Run must meet at the Apricot Tree Restaurant (currently closed) between 8:30 and 11:00 am for sign-up. The Apricot Tree is on Highway I-5 about two miles north of Manning. Entry cost is the purchase of your poker hands. The first hand is ten dollars and event manager Tom Fairess says contestants typically buy 3 hands. The event supports the Golden Plains Unified School District for scholarships and programs like FFA and girls softball.
The Panoche Inn has barbeques monthly through out the summer. See Panoche Inn Facebook page for more information or call Panoche Inn.
LIONS CLUB Poker Run information- Tom Fairess (559) 240-8142