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Desert Storm Poker Run Opens Registration, Changes Host Location

With registration for one of the country’s most popular poker runs—the Desert Storm Poker Run (April 18-22) in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.—opening yesterday and several changes being implemented this year, including bringing the event back into April and moving host locations, speedonthewater.com caught up with Storm Productions’ Christina Crane to get the rundown of what’s happening with the longstanding event.

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The London Bridge Resort is going to host the Desert Storm Poker Run festivities this year. Photo by Jason Johnson

Crane, who owns Storm Productions with Jim Nichols, Jr., the son of Jim Nichols, Sr., the longtime manager and producer of Desert Storm who transitioned the event to his son and Crane in late May, said moving the event back into April was a no-brainer. She explained that there were several complaints about holding the poker run at the same time as the popular Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in Louisiana that has always been the first weekend of May. So, instead of moving it a week earlier, she and Nichols decided to move it to two weeks before Tickfaw. They also like their chances with the weather since the desert town starts to warm up more in May.

Moving on to a couple of other alterations to the event, primarily the new location at the London Bridge Resort rather than the Nautical Beachfront Resort as well as updates to parties, the top-speed shootout and the potential of racing on Sunday, Crane was upfront about the changes. She admitted that the Nautical has its perks, but said she’s excited about the opportunity presented by London Bridge Resort and bringing the event back to a more contained gathering.

“London Bridge Resort will allow us to have all the events under one roof again, no need to drive across town,” Crane said. “We have an incredible view of the famous Bridgewater Channel and The London Bridge. The hotel staff is very nice and accommodating, and the resort offers one- and two-bedroom suites.”

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A pair of DCB catamarans in the 2017 Desert Storm Poker Run on Arizona’s Lake Havasu. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos

She said the London Bridge Resort has set aside a limited number of rooms with a special two-night minimum rate ($259 for one-bedroom suites and $299 for two-bedroom suites). She also addressed concerns from participants regarding dock space.

“We’re planning to add docks that we own to the London Bridge Resort docks,” Crane said, stressing that dock space is on a first-come, first-serve basis. “We’ll actually have more dock space than we did at the Nautical. The London Bridge Resort docks also have security and there will be dock hands to assist participants with their boats. Another plus is that the docks are protected from the weather being in the channel.

“The parking at London Bridge Resort is a concern as well, but we found a solution,” she added. “We have reserved Windsor 4 for boat trailer and rig parking if you choose to use it. It will be open for Desert Storm participants only and is located just south of the new 10-lane launch ramp.”

Along with adding an “Eye of the Storm” gathering during Thursday’s street party, which she explained as a more opened-up registration area with a party atmosphere with music, food and adult beverages to be consumed in that space only, Crane seems most excited about the potential for the top-speed shootout on Saturday.

“The likelihood of the shootout being cancelled this year is slim,” she said, addressing last year’s weather-forced postponement and eventual cancellation. “We have switched insurance agencies—Hawk Insurance is more flexible than our previous one—and we’re putting together a committee with participants who will make decisions about the course safety. We’re also looking at the potential of bringing racing back to the event on Sunday, but nothing has been made official.”

An official events calendar should be on the event site soon—Crane also recommended staying in touch via the event’s Facebook and Instagram pages—and for the first time in the history of the event, the entire registration process can be completed online. Crane, who can be reached at [email protected] with any questions or for sponsorship opportunities, is extremely proud of that change.

“It’s all online—you can register for all events and pay online,” she said. “You can even upload your boat insurance and registration, and sign the Terms and Conditions online. We are moving up to the 21st century!”

The changes that Storm Productions promised last year are definitely being put into motion. In just a few months, the Desert Storm participants will be the judges of how it all worked out.

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