Lost in the unfolding drama of whether Race World Offshore or Super Boat International will be awarded the next five-year contract for producing world championships in Key West, Fla.—the city’s Request For Proposal was released earlier this week—is the unquestionable value of the Florida Powerboat Club’s concurrent poker run to the famous destination. Do the simple math and the FPC’s impact becomes undeniable.
Without the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run, the concurrent offshore world championships would suffer—and vice-versa (click image to enlarge) Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Last year, the FPC event attracted more 214 boats and more than 1,000 free-spending participants. By way of comparison and contrast, The 2019 Super Boat International Offshore attracted 39 boats. If each team brought 10 crew members—a generous estimate—that would translate to 390 participants in the SBI event. With the week of the offshore races and poker run being the biggest event-based revenue generator of the year for Key West according to multiple sources, it’s reasonable to conclude on rough numbers alone that the poker run has a far greater economic impact than the races.
But that’s not to say one can exist without the other, despite that the FPC’s Stu Jones and SBI’s John Carbonell never have worked and played well together. Can you imagine heading to Key West for the races and not having the poker-run boats and poker-run village to ogle at the Conch Republic restaurant? And what would the focal point be for the many daylong gatherings and parties for poker runners on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday without the racing, even if they didn’t catch a moment of the action?