In moving the annual Florida Powerboat Club Tampa Bay Poker Run from its original St. Petersburg, Fla., venue a few years ago to Tampa, club president Stu Jones resolved the event’s longstanding capacity issue. The 2021 event attracted 70 boats, more than double what it could handle in its St. Petersburg days, and earned raves from participants for its downtown location and amenities.
At capacity with two weeks to go, the Tampa Bay Poker Run is the fourth event of the 2022 Florida Powerboat Club season. Photos from the 2021 Tampa Bay Poker Run by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
So why is this year’s happening set for April 21-24 sold out at 60 boats? The answer is in the event’s growing popularity combined with ongoing venue work.
“The Tampa Bay Convention Center is under construction and we only have 50 percent of the dock space we had last year,” said Jones. “So we are out of dock space.”
Jones and his crew searched for additional dockage in the area, but found nothing.
Even sporty-plus water conditions weren’t enough to wipe smiles from faces during the 2021 event.
For early arrivals to the 2022 Tampa event, the club is offering a casual, two-stop fun/lunch on Friday before Saturday’s main event. The Saturday evening awards banquet and celebration will be held at the Tampa Bay Convention. The venue is a short walk from the J.W. Marriot and Westin Waterside, the event’s host hotels.
The Tampa Bay run is the fourth event of the Florida Powerboat Club season, which began in January with the outfit’s Winter Poker Run to Islamorada in Key Largo followed by its Miami Boat Show Poker Run in February and last month’s Spring Key West Poker Run.
Moving the event to downtown Tampa has been a boon for the Florida Powerboat Club.