Since late September 2020 when the Tampa Bay Lightning brought home the Stanley Cup, Tampa—Florida’s third-largest city with a population of almost 400,000—has been on a roll. Five months later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. And just two months after that, the Florida Powerboat Club set a 74-boat record for its Tampa Bay Poker Run.
The third event of the Florida Powerboat Club season, the Tampa Bay Poker Run continued the outfit’s record-setting ways. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The turnout was particularly gratifying for Stu Jones, the president of the Pompano Beach, Fla., poker-run producing outfit after 2020 when the pandemic all but destroyed the FPC season. Plus, the Tampa run has been a problem child of sorts for Jones and his team, an event with unlimited potential and limited dockage options.
“It feels great,” said Jones, as he departed Tampa on the Monday after the weekend-long happening. “We have set records for the first four events of 2021, so we are certainly making up for a particularly dreadful 2020.
“We’re glad to see that people are getting out again and the marine industry is on fire right now with the number of new builds and sales happening,” he continued. “It’s an exciting time to be in this sport.”
What turned things around for the Tampa event, which until this year had never attracted more than 40 boats? Ditching its traditional Vinoy Resort headquarters with its lack of available dock space for downtown Tampa and the Marriott and Westin hotels.