BIG Alís Poker Run was a Perth institution. Before events like Cars & Coffee and mass gatherings at service centres, the Poker Run was attracting 6-700 cars and then taking them on a meandering cruise through the Perth metropolitan area. There are quite a few cars Iíve only ever seen at the Poker Run; it was the type of event that attracted people from all walks of life and cars of all makes, models and types.
Sadly, event linchpin Al Erdman passed away last year due to complications following a heart operation. It was a shock to all of us who knew him well, and the hundreds of people that showed up to his funeral proved how much of an impact he had on the scene in Perth.
As the Poker Run grew over the years from its original small gathering in 1981, finding start and finish venues big enough to handle all of the hot rods, street machines and classics that showed up became a constant battle for Big Al. In the last few years he hit on a pretty good combination: a start point in Perry Lakes that had lots of shade and caught plenty of refreshing sea breeze in the afternoon Ė a welcome change to the sweltering and sometimes dusty parks closer to the city.
One of the great challenges was creating multiple cruise routes, which not only spread the traffic out but also meant you could see quite a few of the other cars entered as they headed in different Ė and sometimes opposite Ė directions to yourself.
This yearís Poker Run, the 37th, was billed as the final one and around 700 cars entered to send off the event in style. Hopefully this wonít be the last event of this type and someone will have the desire and passion to carry on the tradition and keep that second Saturday in February locked in for Perthís biggest and best cruise. One thing is certain: As per Big Alís wishes, it wonít be called Big Alís Poker Run.