When it comes to poker runs in its home state, the Florida Powerboat Club typically takes off summers—and given the Sunshine State’s typically sweltering summer weather that makes a lot of sense. The exception to this has been the club’s Emerald Coast event in the Florida panhandle, which until this season had been a mid-August affair. But with this year’s September 22-26 dates, the club’s four-day Emerald Coast Powerboat Week, which includes a fun run and a poker run, lands squarely in the fall.
With new dates this year, the Florida Powerboat Club’s Emerald Coast Poker Run currently has 75 boats registered. Photos courtesy/copyright of the Florida Powerboat Club.
That change, according to Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones, has distinct advantages.
“The new late September dates will get us out of those hot August days,” he said. “But more importantly, will see much lower levels of recreational boaters, which includes those renting personal watercraft and pontoon boats, on the same waterways as our performance-boating club members during a four-day event.”
At present, 75 boats are registered for the event, which will enjoy its traditional headquarters at the Emerald Grande Hotel at HarborWalk Village in Destin. New this year in addition to the fall dates is the club’s partnership with the expansive nearby Legendary Marina facility, which will provide complete services to FPC members.
“Legendary Marina has embraced FPC with a really incredible facility and a staff that will do everything from receiving boats on trailers, unloading and launching them, truck and trailer parking and even provide daily shuttle services for our guests from the Emerald Grande to and from the marina,” said Jones. “This really takes out a lot of the heavy lifting and makes logistics more manageable, especially for poker-run teams hauling boas hundreds of miles to participate.”
No Florida Powerboat Club Emerald Coast happening would be complete without a Friday fun run to Juana’s Pagoda’s in Navarre Beach.
“Of course, other facilities such Brooks Bridge Marina and Adventure Marina in Fort Walton Beach will continue to support the event with launching facilities and transient docking for our teams,” he added.
Per tradition, a fun run to Juana’s Pagodas, a popular waterfront haunt in Navarre Beach, is scheduled for Friday in advance of Saturday’s poker run. The post-run, Saturday night celebration and awards dinner will be held for the first-time in an open-air tent near the Emerald Grande host-hotel.
Though Jones said registration is slightly down from prior years with the event just two weeks away, he attributes that dip to the “major date change, which will take a couple of years to settle in for poker-teams that like to travel.” Registration is still open.
The Emerald Coast remains one of the Florida Powerboat Club head’s favorite boating areas in his home-state, and he’s eager to return there this later this month.
“There’s something about the boating on the Emerald Coast that’s just magical—until you get there, you don’t really know,” he said. “I fell in love with this area back in 1999 with my first visit and the FPC has made its annual pilgrimage to the area every year since.”