The guest speaker at our Nov. 29th meeting was Tony Poli from the Sullivan County ATV Association, a non-profit organization that holds ATV (4-Wheeler) trail run fundraising events twice a year throughout the woods of Sullivan County. The proceeds from their events benefit families with children with special needs.

Mr. Poli gave a very interesting account of how the Sullivan County ATV Association and its fundraising events started in 1999 at Mr. Willys restaurant with about 90 participants. It was so successful that people asked if it could be held again on an annual basis. The ATV trail Poker Run event has remained very popular over the years and is now held twice a year. Although the attendance at the events has dropped recently from its peak of over 700, the ATV trail events still draws 300 – 400 people. The Sullivan County ATV Association has given out over $240,000 to children with disabilities since it started.

Mr. Poli tried to explain how difficult it is to hold the ATV trail run events. “It’s a lot of hard work”, he said. New York State does not provide any places to use ATVs, so private owners are asked for the use of their properties. Tony is involved with contacting property owners for permission to go through their land, setting up contracts where necessary, clearing and cleaning the trails, as well as putting up and removing the signage along the trails for the events. He said that they’ve gotten pretty good at running the things, but most of all, he loves being out in the woods of Sullivan County. People come from all over the United States to participate in the ATV trail events.

Mr. Poli said that he wished more people in Sullivan County would realize what a wonderful and beautiful place they live in.