Starting on Thursday and lasting into Monday, family members, loved ones, friends and more gathered in Tennessee to celebrate the lives of Carey Downs and Jeremie Floyd, who died in a nighttime boating accident last summer. From raising a 16-foot, 5,000-pound cross in their honor at the spot of the accident to raising a glass at their favorite hangout, Freddy T’s, the weekend was obviously memorable and emotional for everyone who descended on Pickwick Lake.
A couple hundred boats flocked to Tennessee’s Pickwick Lake last weekend for the memorial poker run. Photo courtesy Jeff Ketchum
Held in conjunction with Darryl Worley’s 14th annual Tennessee River Run, a fundraising concert for the Darryl Worley Foundation, the first annual Carey Downs & Jeremie Floyd Memorial Boat Poker Run took place on Saturday. According to Marsha Floyd, Jeremie’s wife who was a key proponent behind the memorial event, the poker run hosted by the Pickwick Parrott Heads raised more than $106,000 for the Darryl Worley Foundation, part of which is expected to be donated to the children’s trusts for Downs and Floyd.
“The weekend was overwhelming—we had so many people here from out of town, I mean from as far as New York, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida,” said Marsha, who was blown away by the outpouring of support for Jeremie and Carey. “We rounded up 50 different sponsors and had close to 250 boats including everything from pontoons and bass boats to ski boats and cruisers. I was blown away by how many people wanted to be a part of this. I think we may have started something that could grow and grow.”
Check out the slideshow above for highlights from the memorial event courtesy of Yvonne Aleman/Speedonthewater.com
Marsha admits the poker run benefitted immensely from the Parrott Heads involvement as the group has been organizing the local run for more than a decade. But the generous amount of money donated was far beyond anything the group had seen. Last summer the Parrott Heads event raised its largest amount of money—$10,000—this year donations were 10 times that amount.
“I really hope everyone who played some kind of part in this event—and you know who you are—realizes how much it means to me and my kids and to Carey’s kids and family as well,” said Marsha, who thanked Shane Kelly Edge of Sportsman’s Boat Storage. “For our first year getting involved, everything went great. The weather could have been better, but thanks to a couple of friends looking out for us from above the rain stayed away from the places we needed it to.”The on-water concert and raft-up—complete with a barge to dance on—was as good as expected, according to attendees. Check out the video courtesy of Jeff Ketchum at right.
Following Saturday’s poker run and concert, Troy Sullivan took home the best poker hand and $3,000, with Ted Townsend and Brenda Canada finishing second and third respectively.
“It was great to see so many caring people come out, not only for Carey and Jeremie, but for the ones they left behind,” said Downs’ longtime friend Greg Harris, who traveled from South Florida for the memorial event. “The weekend was full of reminiscing and smiles. The hard moments came when we visited the memorial cross and when we shared stories with Carey’s mother, Janet.
“The lake is a beautiful place and Marsha, David (Woods of Pier 57 Motorsports) and the volunteers did a wonderful job,” Harris continued. “I hope to visit Pickwick again annually for this event or any other one that can benefit the foundations set up for the Downs and Floyd children.”