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Scale Essential For Tampa Bay Poker Run Success

In August, the Florida Powerboat Club’s Emerald Coast Poker Run in the Destin, Fla., area attracted 70 boats. The event was the first in almost six months for the Pompano Beach, Fla., organization. Like all businesses based on event planning and production, the outfit has faced endless and sometimes insurmountable challenges presented by COVID-19 social distancing and safety mandates.

Scheduled for the end of the month, the Florida Powerboat Club’s Tampa Bay Poker Run will have a significantly smaller fleet than the outfit’s fleet in Destin last month. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

While the Emerald Coast happening was a successful return to what Florida Powerboat Club president Stu Jones and company do for a living, the club’s upcoming Tampa Bay Poker Run, September 25-27, will necessarily be much lower key. Jones said he is capping the event 40 to 45 boats, despite that there may be more member interest.

The difference is venue. The FPC’s Emerald Coast event had more capacity—in all regards—than its upcoming Tampa Bay run.

“With Centers for Disease Control guidelines, restaurants are only accepting up to 60 people for poker-run lunches and we have almost 200 guests,” said Jones. “We’re already up to four locations for lunch on Saturday and we have the same issue for the fun run on Friday and the docking is very limited.”

Concerned about what he calls “party crashers”—powerboat owners and their guests who latch onto and follow his events without registering and paying entry fees—Jones isn’t publicly announcing stops and a locations for the Tampa event.

“That would mess up the whole format,” he said.  

Registration for the event remains open for now, though it is nearly capacity.

Said Jones, “I think we are going to have a great event, but it’s going to be comfortable at 45 boats.”

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