Despite announcing dates two months ago for the return of the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in Louisiana following last year’s cancellation, organizers of the wildly popular event hosted by Blood River Landing in Springfield are uncertain at this point if the poker run, which is scheduled for April 28-May 1, is going to happen this year because of continuing COVID-19 restrictions.
There’s a chance that Blood River Landing in Springfield, La., is going to be much quieter than usual if the popular Tickfaw 200 Poker Run is cancelled for the second year in a row. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
According to a longtime member of the event’s organizing committee, Casey Harrison, the committee is being as proactive as it can be for the planning stages of the poker run but that it’s also being as up front and honest as possible.
“The run is a definite question mark at this point,” Harrison said. “We don’t want to pull the plug on something last minute without warning people that it could happen. We’re also not cashing any checks from anyone, participants or sponsors, until we know the event can happen. We’re not going to sit on anyone else’s money; that’s not how we do things around here.
“If we do have to cancel the poker run, no one is saying people can’t come to Louisiana, take their boats out and visit all of the places on the water—the rivers are always open—but at this point we’re not optimistic that we’ll be able to host the Fun House parties and the poker hands without the required permits,” he added. “Even if things at Blood River are restricted, there’s a good chance many of the normal stops will be open at some capacity. Maybe not 100-percent capacity, but we’re hopeful it’s better than the current 30-percent capacity guideline.”
Harrison said he’s had people calling on a daily basis wanting to know if the run is happening.
“At this point I just have to say, ‘I don’t know’ to anyone who asks if we’re going to have the event,” he said, adding that he never expected the pandemic to last long enough to impact the 2021 poker run. “We’ve been putting in reservations for campers and RVs at the marina, but the agency that handles the gambling permits hasn’t issued any permits since last March. We’ve been informed that the state will not issue any permits at this time. The next possible date will be in February when the phase 1.5 restrictions expire. If we get the go ahead to move forward, it’s still not a guarantee special event liquor and gambling licenses will be issued.
“With the way our event is set up, we can’t try to go under the radar with any of it,” he continued. “We work closely with six Sheriff’s departments, U.S. Customs, U.S. Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and more. Not to mention the local and state politicians in attendance. Did you know not having a gambling permit is a federal offense? You mess that up once and you’re done forever.”
And as Harrison and everyone else who has a hand in the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run will agree—that’s the last thing they want to happen.
Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com will continue to provide updates on the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run and any other events impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, check out the new SOTW Events Calendar.
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