Despite significant dedication and ambition, the team at Phantom Productions has decided that it was in the best interest of the sponsors, participants, volunteers and spectators to cancel the 2020 Storm Poker Run, which was the planned combination of the postponed late-April Desert Storm Poker Run with the fall Monster Storm Poker Run rescheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 4. The organizers made the announcement this evening via Facebook Live.
Despite postponing the event earlier in the year, the popular Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., has been cancelled for 2020. The 2021 dates are scheduled for April 21-25 . Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos
After making the late-March announcement, the team assumed five months would be ample time for the world to get back to a state of normalcy. Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be far been far from predictable and expected so the popular Lake Havasu City, Ariz., event was scrubbed. The 2021 dates have been scheduled for April 21-25, 2021.
“It is with a heavy heart that the 23rd annual Desert Storm Poker Run announces cancellation,” said Christina Nichols, who owns and organizes the event with her husband, Jimmy Nichols. “While it is our great pleasure to bring this level of high-performance boating to the West Coast, and excitement to Lake Havasu each spring and fall, the decision needed to be made to protect all involved. We eagerly look forward to the 2021 event.”
“We had every intention to give (people) something to look forward to in the fall, after the year we all have had,” she continued. “We are saddened we cannot provide what we promised.”
Jimmy Nichols also expressed his disappointment.
“This is the first event in 23 years that the Nichols family was unable to provide an event,” said Jimmy Nichols, whose father was one of the founders of the event, which originally started as the Heat Wave Poker Run in the late ’90s. “Christina, myself and the entire Storm team are as disappointed as everyone else that the event cannot happen. Just understand this is not for lack of trying. Christina has been trying to push water up a hill and, as we know, that is no easy feat.
“It is heartbreaking to hear her in the office and the sound of defeat when she communicates another municipality or organization has told us NO,” he continued. “We have cancelled the Shootout twice because of weather, and we have had to make minimal changes over the years to keep the event functioning and work with all the government municipalities that we do, but never in 23 years have we been forced to cancel the event entirely.”
Storm Poker Runs hosts two events annually in Lake Havasu, each with distinct features that make them special. The spring Desert Storm event is a five-day event that boasts parties, charity elements, the country’s largest street party, a sizeable poker run and the only top-speed shootout on the West Coast. The fall Monster Storm event is on a much smaller scale, covering three days and boasting a more family focused, intimate affair. The event has parties, lunch runs, a poker runs and a costume-themed awards party like no other.
Christina Nichols said the cancellation of this year’s events is not only going to have implications for the local economy but a significant effect on funding for its nonprofit beneficiaries from each event.
She added that the Storm team encourages participants to visit the website and check out the Storm History. If they want to continue to show support to the team through this crazy year, they can go to the Storm Shop and make an apparel order. She said she is working on new items to release over the remainder of the year.
“We encourage you to follow our social media—both Instagram and Facebook—as we’ll have cool information and specials from our sponsors, vendors and partners,” she said. “We also have contests from time to time. Everything from Storm swag, free poker run entries, free Shootout entries or free dock space at our next event.
“One of my favorite quotes is ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the Storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.’” she added. “So, we all are learning how to dance, how to navigate these unfamiliar waters and stay afloat. We promise that our next event will not disappoint. We do not do anything halfway and, as always, we will provide you a spectacular event.”