For the first time in six years, Sara Scioli, the wife of Erie Poker Run organizer Anthony Scioli, didn’t make it to the Pennsylvania-based event. A cosmetologist and beauty store owner now moonlighting as a nutritional program salesperson and an in-home school teacher in the era of COVID-19, Sara hung back with their three children.
Her husband missed her this weekend—and not just because she tackles most of event’s on-site administrative work—as did the event’s longtime participants.
Earning furthest-traveled honors, Laurie and Jason Moe came all the way from Washington to be part of the Erie event, which was their first poker run in their 46-foot Outerlimits catamaran called Hurry Up They even gave Jeff Helmkamp, the official event photographer, a ride in their 46-footer. Photo by Anthony Scioli copyright Elite Poker Runs, LLC.
“The whole thing was a lot harder without Sara,” said Anthony Scioli, who founded Elite Poker Runs LLC with the Erie Poker Run as his outfit’s first official event.” Everyone loves her—and she does so much of the hard work.”
Scioli paused to laugh. “One year after the banquet, I forgot to publicly thank her,” he said. “So there’s this ongoing joke in the Erie group, ‘Hashtag we love Sara.’”
That this year’s Erie Poker Run, which attracted 27 entries, even happened was no small feat. Scioli originally scheduled the event for late June, but pandemic safety concerns and social distancing requirements forced him to push the run to this weekend, which began with an automobile poker run on Friday.
Including the lunch stop at Dimitri’s On The Water in Dunkirk, N.Y., the 100-mile on Saturday run had four stops. Most participants, however, opted out of the post-lunch stops in favor of heading back to the excellent Erie Sheraton Bayfront Hotel, which has been the host venue since Scioli launched the happening. A few even rafted off Presque Isle State Park, which is directly across the water from the hotel.
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from the 2020 Erie Poker Run. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp copyright JHelmkamp Photos.
“The forecast was as good as you could ask for, and the weather exceeded the forecast,” said Scioli. “Conditions were phenomenal.”
Thanks to its tented atrium area, the adjacent Marriott Courtyard Hotel hosted last night’s celebratory dinner. Approximately 100 participants made it to the evening celebration.The event raised approximately $4,500 for The Children’s Advocacy Center.
Given the struggles he’s faced as a poker-run organizer, Scioli, who makes his living in the restaurant business, often wonders why he stays in the game. For the last two years, the answer has been Erie.
“Part of me never wants to do it again, but there are a lot of positives,” he said. “Vance and Anita Hagen have done all six runs. So has Erie’s own David Weschler, who always steps up as a sponsor, and his wife, Nicole, though she couldn’t make it this year because she’s pregnant. Jason and Laurie Moe came all the way from Washington with Hurry Up, their 46-foot Outerlimits cat, and they were one of three boats that made it to every stop. It’s a good venue with a lot of potential, so I probably will come back.
“As long speedonthewater.com promises to come next year in person,” he added, then laughed again.
Erie Poker Run sponsor David Weschler is one of several participants who have tackled all six events.