With seven card stops, participants in the Lake Murray Poker Run had plenty of opportunity to take a daylong scenic tour of the popular South Carolina lake. Photo courtesy/copyright Michael Ledford/Speedonthewater.com.
Last weekend’s seventh annual Lake Murray Poker Run attracted 70 powerboats, from high-performance V-bottoms to family friendly pontoons, to the popular South Carolina waterway. Better still, the event raised more than $35,000 for Children’s Chance, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to the families of children diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
“They help subsidize travel and living expenses for families with children in South Carolina who have cancer,” said Jacob Carter, the chief organizer of the event who works closely with Stephanie Amaker, the executive director of Children’s Chance. “Most the time when a child is diagnosed with cancer one the parents has to quit work.
“I know of one story where they flew a family up to New York for a second (medical) opinion and they came up with a treatment plan,” he continued. “That child is still alive and doing well.”
Starting at Timberlake Country Club in Chapin, S.C., there were seven “drive-though” card stops in the poker run, though most of the participants did not hit all of them. The country club served as headquarters—Friday night’s dinner and Saturday’s lunch and dinner were served there— for the weekend-long event, which started with a Friday “skip-day” raft-off at Sandy Beach. As in years past, the organizers relied on sponsors to defray much of the cost and promoted the event with local radio spots.
For a look at some of the action from last weekend’s Lake Murray Poker Run, check out the slideshow above. All photos courtesy/copyright Michael Ledford/Speedonthewater.com.
But the bulk of the promotion for the event happened, as it has for the past seven years, at the grassroots level.
“We don’t have a boat club that puts it on—Stephanie of Children’s Chance handles everything,” said Carter, who lives in Gilbert, S.C., and owns a 1991 Formula 311 SR-1 sportboat with twin 600-hp engines. “There’s a good, core group of us here on the lake, mostly with V-hulls from 30 to 38 feet. We also have developed a lot good relationships with people on different lakes by attending their poker runs and other events.
“We don’t want this just to be about the (high-performance) powerboat community,” he added. “Whether you run a pontoon boat or a cat, it doesn’t matter to us. The card stops opened at 10 a.m. and closed at 4 p.m., which allowed people to really see and enjoy the lake. If you ran all the stops, it was about 102 miles.”
Participants who stopped running after lunch at the Timberlake venue could sit back and watch drag boat competition courtesy of the Lake Murray Drag Boat Association.
“The first year we raised just under $30,000 for Children’s Chance and last year we raised just over $30,000,” said Carter. “We try to put on a really nice event—having it Timberlake raised the bar this year—so finding sponsors really helps. A lot of effort goes into putting on an event like this.”