Though the final numbers are not in, Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club, which organized last weekend’s Emerald Coast Poker Run in the Fort Walton Beach and Destin, Fla., areas, estimates that the event raised approximately $150,000 for the Emerald Coast Foundation, which supports youth-oriented charities in Northwest Florida. The event celebrated its 23nd anniversary this year.
The Emerald Coast Poker Run attracted a healthy contingent of go-fast boats last weekend—and raised funds for a worthwhile cause. Photo courtesy/copyright Florida Powerboat Club.
“On the bikini contest alone I think they made $15,000, and this was the best year they’ve had ever for sponsorships,” said Jones. “Last year with the bad weather and low turnout I think they brought in about $100,000. They should be back up to their normal $150,000 mark this year.”
The Florida Powerboat Club’s registration for the event reached almost 100 boats, according to Jones. However, “local class” registration added another 60 boats—from 17-foot skiffs to 50-foot cruisers—to the total fleet count.
“And if you count the ‘party crashers,’ boats that did the run without registering, there were at least twice that many boats overall,” said Jones. “I was in the helicopter for three days, so I saw it firsthand.”
Jones said that he had hoped for higher club registration numbers, but on the whole he was pleased with the turnout, especially given the rough conditions that hampered the success of last year’s event.
“We had perfect weather every day,” said Jones. “The sky didn’t open up until 6 p.m. after Sunday’s raft-up at Crab Island, which was a pretty raucous affair.”