Despite that several of his poker runs actually happened, no organizer took a harder beating from the COVID-19 pandemic than Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club. That’s because Jones is the only go-fast boating event planner and producer in the country who does it for a living full-time.
Most go-fast boating event organizers struggled in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news? They’re inspired to make them happen next year—more so than ever—even if that means making significant changes. Photo from the 2019 Boyne Thunder Poker Run by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“The pandemic took a tremendous blow on the Florida Powerboat Club‘s revenue for a period of at least five months,” Jones said. “Thankfully, our sponsors remained committed to supporting the club through those times, and members for the most part had no trouble doing their annual renewals even if they were at the height of COVID-19 in April or May. For these reasons, Florida Powerboat Club was able to survive the six-month curse.
“But COVID-19 is still very much alive in the nation,” he added.
That’s something Jones and his fellow organizers are keenly aware of, that their situations remain dynamic. All are—regardless of their pandemic mitigation measures—at the mercy of various permitting agencies and restricted-occupancy venues such as restaurants and hotels. Without permits, there is no event insurance. Without insurance, there are no events.
But that isn’t stopping any of them from planning to come back stronger next year.
“We learned that boaters want to get on the water and have a hell of a good time, pandemic or not,” said Shannon Radtke, whose 2020 Four Horsemen Poker Run in Oshkosh, Wis., happened as planned and attracted 51 boats while raising $10,000 for the locally based nonprofit Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services organization.
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