Turtle Run to benefit YouthZone | PostIndependent.com

Turtle Run to benefit YouthZone

Heidi RiceWestern Garfield County Staff

It was 11 years ago when a 19-year-old Rifle High School graduate from New Castle was killed in a head-on crash on County Road 335 in New Castle by a drunken driver.It was 11 years ago when a 19-year-old Rifle High School graduate from New Castle was killed in a head-on crash on County Road 335 in New Castle by a drunken driver.Today, more than 350 motorcyclists are expected to carry on the memory of Stella “Turtle” Tucker through the annual Turtle Poker Run, which benefits YouthZone of Garfield County.The Turtle Run will start in Grand Junction between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, May 14, ending at Apple Tree Park in New Castle with a barbecue and raffle drawings until about 4 p.m.Stella’s father, Richard Tucker, is a member of the Mountain Riders motorcycle club. He said the run started after Stella’s death to raise money for kids who needed it.Stella was born with partial cerebral palsy, which affected the right side of her body. She’d had numerous operations at Intermountain Shriners Hospital, a pediatric hospital in Salt Lake City.”They operated on her right foot and hand, and it corrected some of the problems and she turned out to be a pretty normal child,” Tucker said. “But she was always a giver – she would give the shirt off her back to anybody.”The first year, about 150 participants in the Turtle Run raised $700. Last year, the event raised around $4,500 for YouthZone.”The proceeds that we get are put in our general pot,” said Mary Jean Carnevale, director of communications for YouthZone. “Grant money that we receive must go to a specific program. This (money) allows us to help operate programs overall so that all kinds of kids can benefit.”YouthZone is in its 28th year and operates 35 programs, including prevention, mentoring, court services, group therapy, counseling, parenting classes and support groups.The poker run begins in Grand Junction, where each participant is dealt a playing card. Stops are also made in DeBeque Canyon, Parachute, Silt and finally at Apple Tree Park in New Castle, where players are each given another card, for a total of five. The person with the best poker hand wins, and cash prizes range up to $300. The rest of the funds are given to YouthZone.A raffle is also part of the fund-raiser. One of the big raffle prizes this year will be a 1980 Yamaha SX1000 road bike with a new paint job. Raffle tickets are $5 a piece. There is no limit on entries, and you don’t have to be present to win.A person doesn’t even have to have a motorcycle to participate in the run.”If you don’t have a motorcycle, drive your car,” Tucker said.

When: The annual Turtle Poker Run will begin between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, May 14. Where: The starting point is at Motorcycle Accessories, 2060 E. Main St. in Grand Junction and end up at Apple Tree Park in New Castle. Directions for the various stops will be given. How to get there: From westbound Interstate 70, take the Clifton exit and turn onto the I-70 business loop. Go seven miles, and Motorcycle Accessories is on the right. Cost: $10 per poker hand and $5 per additional hand, which includes the barbecue at 1 p.m. Raffle tickets are $5 each. Contact: Richard Tucker at 984-3530 or 309-5701.

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