While the Emerald Coast Poker Run in the Destin and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., areas has seen more than 160 boats in its strongest years, preregistration for the upcoming 23rd annual event this weekend stood at 80 boats as of yesterday afternoon. Although Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club, which organizes the event, said he would prefer higher preregistration as it takes the pressure of his staff “at crunch time,” he also said that last-minute registrations are typical at this event.
Last-minute registrations and arrivals are typical for the Emerald Coast Poker Run, said Jones. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.
‘”We’re expect 50 to 60 more boats to register between today and tomorrow,” he said. “We think we’ll end up at around 130 to 140 boat this year, which is solid. Last year, weather really hurt us and I think people have been waiting for the forecast before they commit this year. Fortunately, the weather looks really good for the weekend.”
Another factor in the last-minute nature of registration for the Emerald Coast Poker Run has to do with the area’s bountiful lodging and dockage availability. Even in the busiest years, last-minute arrivals can find a place to stay and keep their boats in the water.
“You may not get exactly where you want to be if you get here last minute—you may not get into the host hotel—but you will get to stay somewhere,” said Jones. “It’s not like the Miami Boat Show Poker Run to mid-Keys where the lodging is so limited that you have to book early. It’s more wide-open here.
“I just got a call from someone who signed up last night,” Jones added. “He’s 1,000 miles away, and he got on the road after he called. Of course we’d like people to register earlier, but that’s how it is with this run.”
Editor’s Note: Look for a wrap-up on the Emerald Coast Poker Run on speedonthewater.com next week.