Earlier this year, Elite Poker Runs LLC owner Anthony Scioli announced that his Mentor Poker Run on Lake Erie would be geared toward families, and that’s exactly what happened during the event in Ohio last Saturday. While just four children—including a two-year-old—took part in the actual 15-boat trek to Cleveland, another 25 to 30 kids hung back at the run’s Mentor Harbor Yachting Club starting point for a day of fun and games.
As promised, the Mentor Poker Run provided an exceptional family atmosphere (click image to enlarge). Photos courtesy/copyright Jeff Helmkamp/Jeff Helmkamp Photography.
“Sometimes, I felt like there were more kids than adults,” Scioli said, then chuckled. “The yacht club was incredible. They had old-school games, like tug-of-war, for the kids that they don’t play much nowadays. My wife, Sara, stayed back to supervise it, and she told me the kids had a blast.”
As for the poker run group, which was inexplicably joined and followed by another organized fleet, which Scioli estimated to have 15 boats of its own, running alongside the poker run group all the way to Cleveland, it divided into a couple of groups (as planned) at Rock and Dock facility behind the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
“We didn’t do a formal lunch,” said Scioli. “Some people wanted to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and some just wanted to hang out and grab a bite. So we set a departure time from Cleveland and let everyone do what they wanted.”
Though having another group in the mix, Scioli said, created some confusion—especially in the photo helicopter—it did not diminish the experience for the paid participants. Still, the experience left him frustrated.
For a closer look at the action from the Mentor Poker Run, check out the slideshow above
“When we were up in the helicopter, it was hard to tell the boats that had entered the poker run and paid to be part of it and those that were just following our group—and even stopping with it,” he said. “I was spotting for Jeff (Helmkamp), the photographer paid to shoot the event for the participants, and it would be like, ‘Wait, that boat has no stickers and they’re not wearing life jackets so that’s not one of ours.’ It was kind of ridiculous, actually, but we got it done and all our people, even one who broke down, told me they had a great time and that the event was worth the price of admission.”
Two of poker-run hand winners donated their winnings back to the Big Brothers and Sisters of Cleveland organization, the event’s benefitting charity, and Randy Carver of Carver Financial Services—the run’s primary sponsor—donated another $2,000.
“We all like the ‘big’ poker runs,” said Scioli. “But I also love the smaller ones like Mentor, where you can just sit back and enjoy the event.”
The Mentor Yacht hosted an array of activities for children during the event.