Among the many attractions of the four-day Tickfaw 200 Poker Run, set for May 1-4 this year and based in Springfield, La., is its lack of formal structure and its longstanding, le bon temps roule—“Let the good times roll”—atmosphere. Participants have days rather than hours to negotiate the 200-plus-mile course through portions of the Louisiana bayou, and the celebration is ongoing. The Tickfaw 200’s reputation for being a four-day party without a lot of rules is well earned.
Organizers of the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run believe adopting more-formal rules will make the event safer without compromising its casual, good-time atmosphere (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
But with its continual growth, which increases the potential for problems on the water, Tickfaw 200 primary organizer Casey Harrison and company are adopting more-formal rules for their 2019 event. Participants must provide proof of valid insurance for their powerboats and lifejackets, while recommended at all times, must be worn in boats traveling at speeds of 100 mph and beyond. Single-file running will be mandatory in the river sections of the course, and passing only is allowed on straightaways.
Boat captains/drivers must be legally sober—the legal blood-alcohol limit in Louisiana is .08 percent—when operating their vessels.
Harrison said that sobriety for captains always was expected during the event, as it is the law to begin with, though he and his organizing committee are still working on enforcement and the consequences for breaking any of the event’s rules. Those rules, he explained, are a necessary byproduct of the run’s growth and success, which has been fueled by participation from performance-boat enthusiasts—the run annually attracts something in the 300-boat range—from around the country.
“The size the run has grown to and the number of spectators also on the water are making it harder and harder to control,” Harrison said. “Most of these rules are common sense and should be practiced daily on the water. Even the most experienced boaters can have accidents. We can’t fix the actions of everyone on the water, but we can ask our participants to help keep it safe for everyone.
“None of these rules will change the run,” he added. “It’s still wide open to run the course, for as many days as you want and in whatever order you want.”
Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com co-publisher/executive editor Jason Johnson and chief photographer Pete Boden will be on scene to cover the 2019 Tickfaw 200 Poker Run.