In an effort to make the 25th anniversary of the Emerald Coast Poker Run in Destin, Fla., even more meaningful, the organizers behind the cornerstone event of an entire week of boating fun along the Florida Panhandle’s Emerald Coast are hoping to reach the $3-million mark in total donations given to local children’s charity over the past two and a half decades.
Juana’s Pagoda in Navarre Beach is going to host the Friday fun run as well as be one of the stops for Saturday’s Emerald Coast Poker Run. Photo courtesy Florida Powerboat Club
According to Stu Jones, the president of the Florida Powerboat Club who helps organize the event with the not-for-profit Emerald Coast Foundation, reaching that level would be an amazing achievement and is very possible if the event has another “good year,” meaning somewhere in the ballpark of its average of $125,000 to $150,000 donated back to the community through the foundation.
For that to happen though, Jones stressed that people need to sign up in the next two to three weeks as the event (Aug. 8-13) is less than four weeks away, and there are no guarantees you will find docks, lodging, etc., the longer you wait to register for the poker run, which features two classes—an Emerald class for boats 27 feet and larger with twin engines and a Ruby class for single-engine boats 26 feet or less.
“I think people need to understand that if they want this poker run to continue to be one of the best events of the year and one of the largest fundraisers of its kind in the country, they need to sign up and register ahead of time,” said Jones, who has been involved with the run for nearly 20 years. “This is a charity event, more so than any other one we produce, so the more people who pre-register, the more we can donate back.