With what will likely end up as close to 150 boats on Lake Havasu this Friday, the Desert Storm Poker Run remains one of the most popular poker runs in the country. It’s not a “destination” run such as the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West and Miami Boat Show/Islamorada events where participants finish the run in some exotic location. It doesn’t include a fun lunch stop, one that’s ideal for socializing and mingling, at a tropical tiki bar.
Yet for any number reasons, the Desert Storm Poker Run continues to draw high-performance powerboat enthusiasts from around the country. Without question, there’s something compelling about running fast on inviting blue to green water in the middle of a forbidding orange and red desert. It’s a visual mind blower. And the untamed nature of the geography, as well as the Lake Havasu scene, holds more than a little appeal.
But from a pure, “Why does this event work so well every year?” perspective, you have to give significant credit to the annual Desert Storm Street Party the day before the run. Created by the event’s organizers and sponsors, the open-air Street Party, which boasts more than a mile of go-fast boats and displays along McCulloch Boulevard in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., is an event like no other.
Running from noon till 9 p.m., the Street Party—and it is a party—blends poker runners from across the nation with the local go-fast crowd with non-boating folks just out to check out the hardware and have a good time with more than a few desert-rat types. It’s boat-show-meets-Southwest-flavored-celebration in the middle of an oasis, and by the time it’s done as many as 30,000 people will have walked up and down the boat-lined street.
And as the Jay Nichols photo above captures perfectly, it’s all framed in the backdrop of Lake Havasu and the surrounding desert.
Of course, we’ll be there again this year to cover the events of Desert Storm—and that’s not all. This year, speedonthewater.com will have its own new display (we’re keeping the actual display a surprise till Thursday) at the Street Party. We’ll be there to introduce our new bi-monthly digital magazine, sign up folks for our weekly newsletter and pass out a few trinkets—you can’t display and not pass out trinkets, right?
But mostly, we’ll be there to meet you and enjoy the party. So stop by and say hello.