Fern 45 Poker Run this weekend benefits Nevada Veterans Coalition

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Mayor proclaims Nov. 5 as Fern 45 Day; This year’s event to honor Brett Palmer

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The hills west of the 95A Motor Sports Complex will be teeming with hundreds of off-road vehicles Saturday as the Fern 45 returns after a COVID-19-forced absence last year.

About 300 vehicles are registered to participate in this year’s Fern 45, which is a fundraiser to benefit the Nevada Veterans Coalition. This year’s event will be held in honor of Brett Palmer, the Veterans Coalition president who died earlier this year.

The Fern 45 was conceived in 2015 by Kelly Walsh as a fun outing for family and friends. Since it was the weekend before Veterans Day, Walsh decided to donate the proceeds of that event to the Veterans Coalition. He originally hoped to have about 30 people.

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“It turned out we had about 110 people show up, and we knew like eight,” said Shari Walsh, the Fern 45 marketing director.

They were able to give the Veterans Coalition about $1,200 and a laptop, and the idea was born to try to do it every year. Over the past six years, the event has raised about $60,000 for the Veterans Coalition.

Because last year’s event was canceled because of COVID-19, mayor Roy Edgington proclaimed that Friday the week of the event Fern 45 Day. Several businesses in the city let the Fern 45 set up booths, and even without the poker run, they still raised enough to give the coalition about $6,000.

This year, they’re planning to make up for lost time.

The event this year has been expanded to two days, which includes a business poker run for the community from 12-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, which Edgington has again proclaimed Fern 45 Day.

In addition, there will be a cornhole tournament and live band playing at the motor sports complex both Friday and Saturday.

Anyone who wants to participate can play in the business poker run on Friday. Players can pick up their card and first poker chip for $10 at the Main Street Fire Station, then proceed to the 76 Station, Big R, Carpet King and end at Nova Tile, where there will be free hot dogs and the winner will be announced.

The Fern 45 poker run will be held Saturday, starting at 9:30 a.m. The run will consist of two loops totaling 45 miles, thus the name Fern 45. Players will stop for lunch between loops, and will finish between 3 and 3:30 p.m.

There will be a total of five stops, where players will pick up a poker chip. Each will be numbered to correspond with a card, so players won’t know their hand until they finish. The best hand will win $500.

Contestants will run the course on side-by-sides, dirt bikes or anything else that can go in the mountains.

Many of the contestants will be camping at the motor sports complex, but the event is open to the public. There will be a variety of raffles and both silent and live auctions, Fern 45 merchandise for sale and vendors selling their own merchandise. MadHouse BBQ is the food vendor for the entire weekend.

In previous events, about40 percent of the participants have from out of state, from as far away as Kansas.

“It’s turned into a little Night in the Country,” said Shari Walsh.

The winner of the cornhole tournament will win two free entries and a camping spot for next year.

Title sponsors for the Fern 45 are K&S Staffing, All Out Companies, LLC and Golf Club at Fernley/Precision Turf Management. Event sponsors are Dolan Auto and Granite Construction, while the card stops are sponsored by Terribles, Summit Funding, Carpet King, Cardin Realty, Greater Nevada Credit Union and Nevada Concealed Carry. There are also about 15 local businesses and individuals that are table sponsors.

In addition to raising funds for the Nevada Veterans Coalition, this year the organizers are also reserving some funds for scholarships for veterans who need things like washing machines or refrigerators.

More information about the event is available at thefern45.com and at facebook.com/thefern45.

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