Vietnam Vets MC West Qld Poker Run

Regimental organisation mixed with a nice laid back ride through some of the most brilliant roads Queensland has to offer. Not one traffic light, four great pubs, lottsa loud bikes and good people!

AN EARLY (blurry) departure saw us headed north to Kilcoy, then west, through Esk shire, before the climb up the Hampton range. On the way we were treated to an awesome sight as the flood gates were opened on the Somerset Dam and a couple of hundred foot high rooster tails of high pressure water gushed forth for the first time in many years. Quite a spectacular sight! It also prompted my poor old bladder to open the gates and I did my bit for Greening Australia.

Just for a change, we actually got to the departure point early. Already the paddock at the rear of the pub was quickly becoming a tent city as run-goers set up their camps in advance, to avoid wasting valuable drinking time once the run was done and dusted.

Incredibly, the pub at Karbarlah, The Farmers Arms, proudly boasts that it is the oldest surviving pub in Queensland and the hosts for the weekend, Kim, Ken and the staff, bent over backwards to ensure all the riders were made more than welcome.

We were greeted by Ike, who took us around and introduced us to all the members before we registered for our hands for the day.

Twenty bucks got you a hand, and if you brought your missus with ya, it only cost an extra ten bucks to give the pair of you a sporting chance and entry into the raffle for five bottles of various spirits. Fuckin’ good value if you ask me! Sometimes it does pay to take the missus! Or as my mate would say, “Every now and then, you have to run the race with the hand-brake applied!”

After a quick briefing on the rules for the ride, it was time to leave for the first stop of the day. A quick squirt up the road (and on the side of it) and we found ourselves in Crows Nest at the Grand Old Crow Hotel. I didn’t know my ex-mother-in-law had a fuckin’ boozer named after her! Some more beers were sunk and the entertainment was supplied by some poor bastard who went wheels-up on the medium strip as he wrestled with the landing gear on his Goldwing. I’m not sure if he was part of the run but he seemed to depart at a great rate of knots not long after the incident. Shame! Shame! Shame!

It wasn’t long before we were back on the road and headed for the lunch stop at the Cooyar Hotel. Steak/fish, chips and salad were on the menu all cooked on a huge BBQ in a relaxed outdoor country setting.

The local cop went into a bit of a melt down on our arrival. The pub knew we were coming but we took poor old Sarge by surprise! After Ike explained that it was a poker run and that we weren’t there to rape, pillage and the plunder, he drew a sigh of relief, retired to the safety of his patrol car, parked up under a large gum tree and watched us as we rode out of town. Thus ensuring the safety of the good folk of Cooyar against any Motorsickle Bums.

The next leg of the run had us travelling through some beautifully untouched rural areas on our way to the Pioneer Hotel at Kulpi. I’d never even heard of this little town before but my mate Benno informed me that, in days gone by, this was one of the biggest gathering spots for bikers of this region.

The third card was dealt and it was here that Worm’s bike became the only casualty for the run with a flat tyre. No worries, Ben from Toowoomba Towing and Salvage had Worm’s bike on the tilt tray in no time and soon we were ready to roll. Ben also donated his time and resources for the day to act as the back-up vehicle and did a great job.

The second last stop for the day was the Pioneer Arms Hotel at Goombungee, another quiet little town I’d never been to before, but plan on visiting again next time I’m out for a quiet Sunday run in the countryside.

It was about 4.30 pm when we arrived back at Karbarlah and things were getting a bit chilly. Two huge bon fires were lit and the crowd quickly gathered around them to relate a few stories of the day’s events over some well deserved drinks. The raffles were drawn, the prizes were handed out and there was a stack of auctions held.

A huge dinner was being prepared while the band for the night, The Song Dogs, were setting up as the sun set and you could sense that all were in for a great night.

The VVMC West Qld would like to thank their major sponsors, Snap-On Tools, Boyd Yung Motorcycles and Moonlight Leathers, just to name a few. I’d like to thank Ike and the club for a great day and look forward to seeing you all their again next year. I’ll be the one parked up on the side of the road watering the foliage, wave to me! Cheers.

pics by Jo; words by Chuck Farley

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