15th Annual Turtle Run revving up | PostIndependent.com

15th Annual Turtle Run revving up

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” For the 15th consecutive year, Richard Tucker of New Castle will get out his 1983 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle and make his annual trip to Grand Junction for the 15th Annual Turtle Poker Run.

It’s an event that is special to Tucker in more ways than one.

“It’s just a joy every year to see the people that come out for it,” Tucker said.

Each year, hundreds of people make the ride from Grand Junction to New Castle, along with Tucker, in the name of his daughter Stella “Turtle” Tucker. Stella was 19-years-old when she was killed by a drunk driver in December of 1993 near New Castle. It was then that Richard began the Turtle Poker Run to help raise money to benefit YouthZone. It’s been a wild ride ever since.

“It gets better every year,” said Stella’s father, Richard Tucker. “I thank everyone that shows up and supports this each year.”

This year’s event will be basically the same as years past, Richard said. The ride will start at Motorcycle Accessories in Grand Junction, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. From there, riders will travel Interstate 70 making stops at Mesa, Parachute, Silt and New Castle.

At each stop, people will pick up another card for their poker hand. Cost of each hand is $10 for the first hand, and $5 for each additional hand. All proceeds go to YouthZone. According to Richard, it’s the way Stella would have wanted it and it makes him feel closer to her by helping out.

“It’s a real good feeling,” he said. “My daughter was a giver and it’s really a fun way to help the kids in the valley that are in that program.”

Last year’s event brought in about 375 riders and $6,793. Richard expects between 300 and 500 riders again this year. It’s been pretty consistent through the years, he said, with about 700 riders participating in the inaugural event.

“We’ve done good over the years,” Richard said. “We’ve even got some groups from out of town that show up each year.”

One of those groups hails from Colorado Springs and is headed by a longtime friend of Richards named Chuck Miller, who used to live in Rifle.

“I’ve known him for 17 years or so,” Richard said. “He comes up every year with a group of 25 or so.”

The event will end at Apple Tree Park in New Castle with a barbecue dinner and some kind conversation. It’s an event that Richard looks forward to every year.

“I do this for my daughter,” he said. “She’s still in my life because of this event each year.”

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114


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