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Florida Powerboat Club Head Pumped On Ambitious 30th Anniversary Summer Poker Run Tour

With eight events—including two of their own—on their annual “Summer Poker Run Tour,” Stu and Jackie Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club will log thousands of miles on the road during the next few months. They’ll be hauling their Top Gun Flight 1130 Cigarette Racing Team 38 Top Gun V-bottom behind them much of the way, which means none of those miles will be particularly speedy.

Stu and Jackie Jones will be on the road for most of the summer with their Top Gun Flight 1130 Cigarette 38 Top Gun powered by twin Mercury Racing 566 engines. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

And that is exactly what the South Florida-based couple is looking for. For 30 years, they have organized poker runs for a living. They’re in no hurry with their annual road trip, which is equal parts research, marketing and simply renewing acquaintances with Florida Powerboat Club members who enjoy their boating summers outside the Sunshine State.

“The summer poker run tour has been a big part of my summer agenda since as far back as the late 1990s,” Stu Jones said. “I always felt like it was important to get out and meet other boaters at events around the country and Canada.

“I’ve even taken that practice to the trans-Atlantic level by attending the Arendal Poker Run in Norway last year, although I had to leave the Cigarette at home,” he added, then laughed.

The Performance Boat Center Rendezvous for Cigarette owners has long been a bucket-list item for Jones.

Technically, the 2023 Florida Powerboat Club Poker Run Tour already has one event—the club’s own Orange Beach Powerboat Week in Alabama—behind it. Between now and September 20-24, the dates for the Florida Powerboat Club’s Emerald Coast Powerboat Week, the couple will experience the Performance Boat Center Rendezvous for Cigarette owners June 16-18 in Osage Beach, Mo.; the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run July 13-15 in Clayton, N.Y.; the Thunder In The City Poker Run July 21-23 in Chesapeake City, Md; the Borden Light Marina Charity Poker Run August 4-6 in Fall River, Mass.; the Lake Cumberland Poker Run September 8-10 in Jamestown, Ky., and the Pirates of Lanier Poker Run September 15-17 in Buford, Ga.

Stu and Jackie Jones have wanted to experience the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run in Clayton, N.Y., for years.

How did Jones settle on those six events this year?

“Much of it was based on poker runs we have never attended before or have not attended for several years,” he explained. “But obviously logistics factored into that so we could balance things out and travel back and forth to events.

“At least three of these six events were ‘bucket-list’ happenings,” he continued. “The Performance Boat Center Rendezvous for Cigarette owners was at the top of the list. I had also wanted to do the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run—it’s so nice to see that one still on the schedule—but we had put that off since before COVID. As we will be in the Northeast for the 1,000 Islands Charity event, it made it easy to work our way south to Maryland for Thunder in the City.”

Among the event Jones said he’s most looking forward to this summer is one he’s been to several times before, meaning the Pirates of Lanier Poker in Georgia. He counts organizers Sheridan Bazemore and her husband, Augie, among his friends, and he’s looking forward to supporting their effort this year.

The tour will finish in late September with the Florida Powerboat Club Emerald Coast Poker Run.

“I am happy to see this event revitalized under their leadership,” Jones said. “We have a strong base of Florida Powerboat Club members in the Lake Lanier area, so it will be like hanging out with our best friends. Plus, the Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands is first class.”

Adventure that this summer will be for the couple, it will mean lot of time on the road away from the comforts this summer. And they’re looking forward to every minute of it.

“It sounds like an aggressive summer tour and indeed it is, but one thing I have never enjoyed sitting still for very long,” he said. “Summers were made for travel and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

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