The fourth event of the 2021 Florida Powerboat Club season, the Tampa Bay Poker Run, April 8-11, is sold out with 70 entries. Registration closed earlier this week, according to FPC head Stu Jones, and there already are 10 boats on the waiting list.
Next’s month’s Florida Powerboat Club Tampa Bay Poker Run is full with a waiting list. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
A record for the event, which is celebrating its 11th anniversary, the 70-boat fleet is twice as large as it was during its best years at the original Vinoy Renaissance Resort venue in nearby St. Petersburg. There simply wasn’t enough dockage for the event to grow beyond that, which led Jones and company to relocate the event headquarters to downtown Tampa in 2018. Solid 40-boat fleets followed in 2019 and 2020.
But even with expanded docking options, the event is at full capacity.
“The issue is actually beyond just the docking needs,” said Jones. “We just don’t have any function space that can accommodate more than 250 guests. We would have to actually exclude some attendees from the functions and that’s just not the way we do things. I already have to split up the fun run on Friday between two different lunch spots.
“It just gets to the point where an overcrowded event is not fun for anybody—and certainly unfair to those who registered several weeks in advance,” he continued. “The good news? Orange Beach (Ala.) Powerboat Week is only a month later, and we have plenty a room for that one.”
After the toughest year in the club’s history thanks to COVID-19-forced cancellations and schedule changes, Jones is grateful for his outfit’s strong start in 2021.
“It feels great,” he said. “We have set records for the first four events of 2021, so we are certainly making up for a really dreadful 2020. We’re glad to see that people are getting out again, and the marine industry is on fire right now with the number of new builds and sales happening. It’s an exciting time to be in this sport.”
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