JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Humane Society of Cambria County is collaborating with Big House Produce to host the first-ever Ruff Riders Poker Run in partnership with Thunder in the Valley.
The Ruff Riders Poker Run will take place Thursday, June 23, from 2 to 7 p.m. The collaborative effort comes from a group of organizers passionate about animals and eager to make a bigger impact for dogs, cats and even pigs in need.
Organizers said the Ruff Riders Poker Run will have five stops, including Sargent`s Stadium at the Point in downtown Johnstown, Vale Wood Farms in Loretto, the Cresson Sanatorium and Prison, Red`s Bar-B-Que in Portage, and the Humane Society of Cambria County in Richland.
Registration fees are $15 per individual person and $25 per couple. Participants will draw cards at each stop to create their hand. The best poker hand wins $500. Pre-register online at bighouseproduce.com. All proceeds directly benefit the Humane Society of Cambria County.
Riders can enjoy ice cream and bar-b-que along the way. And, while visiting Cresson Sanatorium and Prison to draw their card, riders will have an opportunity to ride through the large site’s mix of historical and prison buildings. Riders will wrap up their run at the Humane Society of Cambria County where they will have the opportunity to meet with adoptable pets. Ruff Riders Poker Run t-shirts will be available for purchase, and light refreshments will be served.
It’s reported the Humane Society of Cambria County and Big House produce were brought together by a pig that was in desperate need of help. Moo, named by the humane society, was being kept as a pet inside a home in the City of Johnstown. She was extremely underweight as she was not being properly fed to keep her from growing too big for the home.
Moo was removed from the unfit living conditions and placed into a foster home where she was fed the appropriate feed regularly and given an appropriate living space. It’s reported Moo quickly bounced back and filled out into an over 100-pound pig. Big House Produce stepped up for Moo and adopted her.
Moo now happily resides with other pigs and farm animals at Big House Produce, which is an indoor hydroponic farming enterprise that operates the formerly abandoned Cresson Sanatorium and Prison. It also offers photography, historical and ghost hunt tours of the over 100-year-old facility.
Big House Produce has adopted pigs, goats and sheep that now call the Cresson Sanatorium and Prison home and will be able to enjoy their lives with plenty of space and friends as well as some hydroponic veggies to round out their diets.
“Big House Produce first adopted goats to assist with managing overgrowth in areas difficult to mow,” Lauren Freeman of Big House Produce said. “But many of the Big House Produce crew came on board with a soft spot for animals, some having grown up on farms and even one who previously worked at a zoo, so making room for some for additional farm animals in need seemed like a natural fit and an enjoyable addition to our work.”
Freeman said after connecting with the humane society to adopt a new pig, Big House Produce was asked by a VisitJohnstown staffer that helps promote tourist attractions as well as volunteers with the humane society to assist with a fundraising opportunity.
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“This exact fundraising opportunity has been discussed for years among several members of the shelter,” Jessica Vamos of the Humane Society of Cambria County said. “So, being able to put our plan into action with the assistance of Big House Produce has been exciting! We experience a drop-off in donations yet an increase in animals this time of year. Opportunities like these to bring in funds, right now, are crucial for us to continue our operation and our life-saving efforts. We are extremely grateful for the help of Big House Produce and the partnership we have now formed.”
For more information about the humane society, visit cambriacountyhumanesociety.com.