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Guest Commentary: Safety At The Forefront For Four Horsemen Poker Run

Heartbreaking and humbling, the recent tragedies at the Desert Storm and Key West poker runs have us thinking more than ever about safety for our upcoming ninth annual Four Horsemen Poker Run June 7-10 on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Registration is booming and we’re likely to have the largest fleet—with a slew of high-performance powerboats in the 40- to 50-plus-foot range—in the history of the event.

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In anticpation of their largest event to day, the author and her organizing team will be focusing more intently than ever on safety during this year’s Four Horsemen Poker Run. Photo courtesy Brian Radtke/MediaOne 7.

Our top priority is to organize and produce a safe event, as well as to do everything we can to make sure everyone feels safe during the run. So we’re taking every precaution, including staggered starts based on speeds that drivers are comfortable in the weather and water conditions of the day. To that end, on the morning of the event we’ll have a United States Coast Guard representative who will address the drivers’ meeting and give everyone updates on the conditions and whatever other hazards may exist on the lake.

As always, PFDs will be required equipment for everyone on every boat—wearing PFDs is not optional. Also as always, proof of insurance is required for entry. No exception.

We’ll also have safety/patrol boats staggered throughout the event to ensure the entrants are operating safely. We’re are not trying to be the “fun police,” but we need to make sure everyone involved is following the rules of the waterway.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all in June. We’re proud of our event, and if you’re coming for the first time we’re sure you’ll see why. But nothing—not good times and not the fellowship they create—matters more than safety and doing everything we can to make sure everyone gets home alive.

Editor’s Note: Shannon Radtke is the organizer of the Four Horsemen Poker Run based in Oshkosh, Wis.

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