Bremner bucks up for Hold 'em

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

MEDICINE HAT -- Jerry Bremner knows when to hold 'em. And when to fold 'em.

The 21-year veteran of the wagon box has caught the poker bug that has swept through North America over the past year.

But he won't be heading to Las Vegas to take on the game's heavyweights any time soon.

"I think we'll just keep it around the campfires," Bremner laughs.

"We have to keep the horses running. That's the most important thing."

Bremner (TrailBlazer RV Centre) packs a card table with him when he heads down the road on the WPCA's Dodge Pro Tour.

And when he and a few other drivers sit down for a game of Texas Hold 'Em, Bremner says, the stakes never spiral out of control.

So there's no 'I'll see your left wheeler and raise you a right leader?'

"No, no," Bremner says, adding horses never change hands at the table. "Some guys get crazy with it but not us. We want to have fun with it and not have anyone get hurt too bad.

"But Tuesday nights, it can get a little goofy after men's night at the golf course."

Bremner, who has been playing a lot of cards lately, has seen the game's popularity grow.

"If you walk around the grounds, a lot of people are playing it," the three-time world champion says.

"And I think more and more guys will catch on as the summer goes on.

"It's partly the phenomenon of Hold 'em. You can't turn on a sports channel now that isn't showing it. But with us, for a $20 buy in, you have two or three hours of fun."

Bremner took on fellow drivers Troy Dorchester, Kurt Bensmiller, Grant Profit, Neal Walgenbach and Layne MacGillivray prior to the opening night of the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede.

Things didn't go his way.

"Nope," he says, shaking his head. "Troy won it."

But his fortunes on the track have been much better.

He posted the fourth-quickest time on opening night and was second in the world standings heading into last night.

The 45-year-old reinsman struggled through a frustrating season in '04 as he broke in a number of new horses.

But that short-term pain is starting to pay long-term gains.

Bremner opened the season by qualifying for the Grande Prairie Stompede dash for cash.

Bremner, who was awarded the UFA community ambassador award at the Grande Prairie show, was 1:03:97 last night, good for seventh spot.


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