TAMPA BAY POKER RUN 2012- SEE THE PHOTO GALLERIES!April 5, 2012
Just one month had passed since Florida Powerboat Club's 2012 season kickoff in the Florida Keys, and another wave of poker run teams from around the country set their sites on the beautiful St. Petersburg, for the 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Poker Run. With an impressive fleet that included at least three all-new STATEMENT Suv's and the head-turning 80 Nor-Tech Roadster "Lady Lisa", it further illustrated the trend towards "different strokes for different folks" on the poker run circuit. Where performance boats ten years back were easily lumped into one speed bracket that ranged from 60 to 80 mph, poker runs now display a speed gap of almost 100 mph, comparing 50 mph+ center console boats of the Sport Cruising class, to the high-performance catamarans that often cruise at speeds close to 150 mph! But that never gets in the way of having fun on these FPC poker runs, where the event format accommodates these differences, and puts all participants on a level playing field in a game of chance...It's Lady Luck that determines the winners of these events, and the TAMPA BAY Poker Run was no different.
Friday activities kicked off with a Fun Run from the Vinoy Basin in St. Petersburg to Hula Beach Club, a popular waterfront eatery at the Tampa Harbour Yacht Club & Marina, located along the Gandy Causeway near Tampa's West Shore. The festivities continued at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, where FPC members checked in with Jackie and Laura, and attended a casual kickoff party on the Vinoy Terrace. This social hour was followed by introduction of teams and new FPC members at the mandatory captains safety meeting.
Saturday morning got off to a roaring start, as the first poker cards were handed off by new FPC gal Angela from the VINOY docks, and within moments the boats were blasting across Tampa Bay, with the Sunshine Skyway in their sights. Passing through the landmark bridge, a poker card checkpoint boat provided by Frank & Jill Dotson at Egmont Key, handed off Card #2, and the pack turned back towards the protected bay waters, with a much-welcomed following sea which gave them a chance to throttle up for the northbound run to the next checkpoint.
Hula Beach Club and Tampa Harbour Yacht Club & Marina provided a touch-and-go handoff for poker card #3, as the boats made the quick exchange, before heading back into the bay waters. With strong winds, the chop had picked up and it certainly required some careful throttling and trimming from these weekend warriors, some of whom suffered mechanical casualties when their equipment succumbed to the hard-pounding of the short chop. A variety of failures from damaged propellers to broken outdrives, took almost five teams out of the running before the mid-day lunch stop, proving that even baywaters can be every bit as rough on equipment as offshore running.
By 12:30pm and right on schedule, lunch at Jacksons Bistro at Tampa's impressive downtown waterfront was ready to be served, as the sprited poker runners made their way onto the private outdoor dining deck, overlooking the impressive fleet. It wasn't long before an update on the weather reported a strong storm cell moving eastbound across the Gulf of Mexico, and fast approaching coastal regions. Target...Tampa Bay! With this storm threatening the afternoon agenda and the 5th checkpoint at Little Harbour along the eastern shoreline of Tampa Bay, the choice had to be made.. Stay and be locked in for two hours....or...finish lunch and make a run for the Vinoy!! In less than two minutes, a unanimous decision by over thirty poker run teams took the Fast Track plan....get on the boats, LETS GO!
AWAY they went, and by 2:30pm, as Lady Lisa made her way into the VINOY BASIN, the black clouds moved in quickly and the first drops of rain sprayed the windshield, as Capt Doug put the big Nor-Tech into the dock. Every boat was in, moored safely and the covers were coming out! What next you ask? Like migrating animals with no more than an innate sense about moving simultaneously in a common direction, over a hundred boaters funnelled off the rainydocks to the Vinoy Resort Patio! Where there happens to be, a very large bar. Indeed, unlike the weather, some things are very predictable!
Saturday evening, the festivities continued, as the entire poker run group enjoyed a private evening at the exclusive SUITE SIX nightclub in the heart of St.Petersburg's downtown entertainment district. With first-class dining from the area's top caterers, Orange Blossom, the poker cards were played out and the vibe turned chic and sexy, keeping FPC members and poker runners bouncing to the beats until the wee hours! If there was ever a time to let the hair down, this was the time and the place. Thanks to the gang at Suite Six for rockin' poker run bash!!
Congratulations to John Woodruff and gal Nancy from Team Windship for winning their first poker run, which included FPC poker run vouchers and apparel, Oceanled underwater lights, a heavy duty Odyssey marine Battery, Optix LED Lights...and most of all, bragging rights! Special thanks to John and Nancy for sticking around next day to display the way-to-cool 48 MTI Windship, at the Festivals of Speed Show in Vinoy Park. This was a huge event, and there is no doubt that WINDSHIP stole the show!!
2nd Place honors went to Ed Rieskamp from Team BLOWN INVESTMENT, who attended this event for his second consecutive year, and was very thrilled to see the 47 Fountain on the Tampa Bay Poker Run tee shirt artwork!
Special thanks to event sponsors Statement Marine & Suncoast Powerboats, and Loggerhead Club & Marina for providing event staging facilities. We would also like to recognize Series Sponsors Total Doller Insurance; Ilmor Hi-Performance; Skater Nation and Legend Marine Group of Texas for their continued support!
Stu Jones, Florida Powerboat Club
Complete Photo Galleries are online, on this website!
View other entries5/1/13 - Tampa Bay Poker Run sees an impressive fleet of offshore hardware! - With everything from center console boats to big-powered cats and performance yachts, the Tampa Bay Poker Run had something for everyone!
4/4/13 - HELICOPTER CRASH IS TRAGIC NEWS FOR FPC FAMILY - A Miami helicopter crash has claimed the life of Mark Palmieri, owner of Bravo Helicopters, along with a Miami Dade Fire Rescue Pilot.
3/31/13 - FORT MYERS POKER RUN MAKES A BIG SPRING SPLASH! - The Pink Shell Resort & Marina in Fort Myers Beach made the perfect venue for FPC's return to Southwest Florida!
3/4/13 - CONGRATULATIONS! - Congratulations to the Miami Boat Show Poker Run Winners!
1/18/13 - FPC Commences New Safety Programs for 2013 - FPC President Stu Jones steps up safety guidelines and emergency response measures on poker run events.
1/9/13 - Happy 2013! - FPC wishes all of our members and sponsors a very happy new year.
11/2/12 - Engines are revving! - Florida Powerboat Club's signature event, The Key West Poker Run, commences this Tuesday, November 6th. Still time to get in on the fun IF you can catch us at the office!
9/24/12 - The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show & Boat Show Bash Coming Soon - FPC will be hosting it's 10 annual Fort Lauderdale Boat Show Bash & Bikini Contest on October 26th
9/17/12 - Bimini Smugglers Run completes the Bahamas 2012 excursions! - Six Poker Run Teams braved rough seas to enjoy tropical paradise in Bimini!
8/17/12 - SNEAK PEEK - EMERALD COAST 2012 PHOTO GALLERIES - After sorting thousands of images, the first of several galleries now appears on the FPC Website.
8/13/12 - Emerald Coast Poker Run rebounds after a stormy start! - The 20th Annual Emerald Coast Poker Run hosted 150 poker run teams from over twenty states, raising funds for youth organizations!
7/25/12 - POWERBOATING IN PARADISE TV Returns to Sun Sports with the Emerald Coast Poker Run 2011. - The second round of the 2012 Powerboating In Paradise TV series, will feature six episodes over twelve weeks, and includes all the highlights of FPC Poker Run events!
7/24/12 - FPC Visits Exciting Poker Runs across the United States - A tradition of exploring other poker run events around the USA, is now back in full swing, as FPC visits other events nationwide!
6/20/12 - BAHAMAS POKER RUN 2012 SCHEDULE CHANGE: - Due to heavy winds and thunderstorms, the Thursday departure MAY BE moved to Friday, June 22nd. Activities will continue at Pier 66 as scheduled.
6/12/12 - EMERALD COAST POKER RUN HITS 100 PRE-REGISTERED BOATS! - The 20th Annual Emerald Coast Poker Run has now reached 100 pre-registered poker run teams from over a dozen states!
5/20/12 - Jacksonville River Rally Poker Run 2012 - Poker Run Teams from more than a dozen states heat up the River City for a weekend of high-performance thrills!
5/11/12 - Powerboat Nation Joins FPC for the 11th Annual Jacksonville Poker Run - Florida Powerboat Club is pleased to announce that Powerboat Nation will attend the Jacksonville Poker Run as a feature sponsor!
4/30/12 - Smokin' The Sound Poker Run 2012 from Biloxi Mississippi - More than two dozen poker run teams from ten states enjoyed daytime boating fun and nightime casino parties on this third annual event.
4/16/12 - LEON & DAVID ORTEMOND : VISITATION & FUNERAL ANNOUNCEMENT - For those who wish to pay their respects to the Ortemond family, we are providing funeral home information.
4/14/12 - FPC MOURNS THE LOSS OF LEON ORTEMOND and son DAVID ORTEMOND - A horrific boating accident has claimed the lives of this father & son team who have been a part of our FPC family for over a decade.
4/5/12 - TAMPA BAY POKER RUN 2012- SEE THE PHOTO GALLERIES! - Thirty five poker run teams from around the country gathered March 30th through April 1st at the highly acclaimed Renaissance Vinoy Resort, for another Poker Run in Paradise!
3/21/12 - BAHAMAS POKER RUN 2012: DATES REMAIN June 21-24th, 2012 - The Bahamas Poker Run 2012 is scheduled for June 21st thru 24th. Thank you for your input.
2/23/12 - The Miami Boat Show Poker Run Has Begun - A First Look at Media Coverage from The 2012 Miami Boat Show Poker Run
2/21/12 - Secure Trailer Parking Available - For secure tralier parking, please contact Sunny Isle Marina at 305-945-6000
2/16/12 - Get Ready For More Amazing Powerboat Media Coverage - The Miami Boat Show Poker Run is just around the corner and our cameras will be catching all the powerboat action. Also, the Miami Boat Show Bash is Feb. 17th and the Girls of FPC will be there!
12/14/11 - DVD or BLURAY? Please contact the FPC Office with your Preference. - Effective today, the FPC video department now produces BluRay discs which feature all the brilliant colors and detail of HiDef video. FPC members are asked to update preference with the club office.
11/29/11 - Holiday Isle Resort introduces the all new POSTCARD INN...Ready for FPC's first 2012 event! - What FPC members and boaters have long awaited...is now here! After a $10.4 Million renovation, Holiday Isle Resort in Islamorada has been transformed to a first class resort destination!
11/21/11 - KEY WEST POKER RUN PHOTO GALLERIES- NOW UP ON SITE! - After sorting more than 10,000 images at the FPC photo desk, and over 600 images from the Key West Poker Run, are now posted in a total of eight galleries on this website.
11/14/11 - KEY WEST POKER RUN 2011 WRAPS UP TODAY WITH FANTASTIC OUTCOME FOR PARTICIPANTS & SPONSORS! - The 19th Annual Key West Poker Run rallied in the final days, reaching well over 170 registered boats as hundreds of participants enjoyed fabulous fall weather and an exciting event format!
10/25/11 - TWO NEW SERIES SPONSORS ON BOARD WITH FPC FOR 2012 - Legend Marine Group of Texas and Total Dollar Insurance have confirmed Sponsorship Support with FPC, commencing fall 2011.
10/17/11 - KEY WEST Poker Run reaches 130 teams...All lodging is near Sell Out! - With just three weeks away, the 19th Annual Key West Poker Run presented by Mercury Racing is ready to launch from Miami for the longest poker run of the Year!
10/13/11 - DON'T MISS OUR 2011 FT. LAUD BOAT SHOW BASH: FRI OCT 28th - The Florida Powerboat Club Kicks Off the FALL SEASON with a wild party featuring The Miss Key West Poker Run Contest. DON'T MISS IT!
5/17/11 - Smokin' The Sound draws FPC members to Biloxi for an Entertaining Weekend! - Anyone with a passion for powerboating, sportfishing or gambling ...would be right at home in the small gambling town on Mississippi's Gulf Coast!
5/2/11 - NAPLES POKER RUN wakes up this sleepy down in Southwest Florida. - In a small quiet city known for stellar beachfront mansions and restaurants that close by 10PM, it was quite a shock to see thundering powerboats idling into Naples Harbour.
4/3/11 - TAMPA BAY POKER RUN & FESTIVALS OF SPEED - It was a weekend of big horsepower and beautiful Florida weather as FPC powerboats joined exotic cars of distinction, for a weekend that might be described as a motorhead's wildest dream come true!
3/5/11 - MIAMI 2011 PHOTO GALLERIES- New FPC Photographer provides a Sneak Peak of all the highlights! - Florida Powerboat Club photographer Christian Meighan captured thousands of images over the 12 Days of Miami. A total of six photo galleries on the FPC website feature boats, babes and big horsepower!
3/1/11 - THE TWELVE DAYS OF MIAMI: Hi-Performance Adventure and Fun..From the Magic City to the Florida Keys - Three big events provided a continuous agenda of boat show highlights, South Beach parties, capped off with a poker run to paradise!
1/31/11 - Winter Poker Run to Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys - When another cold winter across the nation set records for snowfall since early December, the Winter Poker Run was the best remedy for this group of FPC Members!
1/23/11 - Scottsdale, AZ: FPC Participates in Record-setting boat sale at 40th Barrett Jackson Auction! - Story Updated 04/09/2011: The popular Corvette MTI Zo44 took top auction sales price at the world famous Barrett Jackson collector car auction, setting a new record for the show.
12/18/10 - NEW HOME PAGE PHOTO GALLERY - A new selection featuring dozens of photo highlights from the recent Key West Poker Run 2010 has been added to the FPC website home page.
12/17/10 - Key West 2010 Photo Proof Sets Mailed - After sorting thousands of aerial images from the Key West Poker Run 2010, FPC staff have completed the task of mailing the first round of proof sets to all participants, along with order forms.
11/29/10 - Powerboating Accident Today- Biscayne Bay - Initial news reports confirmed that two people are dead and two others have been air-lifted to area hospitals, after a crash between two catamarans Monday afternoon.
11/22/10 - Key West Poker Run 2010 Photo Galleries are posted! - The 18th Annual Key West Offshore Poker Run Festival, presented by Offleaseonly.com kicked off from Miami on Nov 9th, as 140 poker run teams enjoyed a week in powerboating paradise!
11/15/10 - Columbus Day Regatta Photo Gallery - South Florida's famous floating festival gave thousands of boaters a weekend of fun!
10/29/10 - FPC Boat Show Bash- TONIGHT AT BOOLEGGER! - The 6th Annual FPC Fort Lauderdale Boat Show Bash kicks off at a new location, BOOTLEGGER on the Intracoastal !
10/28/10 - 51st Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Opens Today! - Fort Lauderdale Show promises great values and something for everyone!
10/15/10 - 18th Annual Key West Poker Run Festival- Nov 8-15, 2010 - The Key West Poker Run is gaining steam, with 125 registered teams and strong sponsorship support.
8/26/10 - Summer Poker Run Photos on FPC Galleries - July and August featured Adventures in Paradise for Florida Powerboat Club members, spanning the Florida Keys to the Bahamas in July, and northbound to the Florida Panhandle.
8/16/10 - For Immediate Release: Emerald Coast Poker Run 2010 Rallies 130 Teams! - Fort Walton Beach, FL: The 18th Annual Emerald Coast Poker Run fought the challenges of the BP gulf coast oil crisis and the lingering economic resession, pulling a modest 130 registered teams.
8/12/10 - Emerald Coast Poker Run- Aug 14, 2010 - On-site Registration Open! - The first Boat Week activities kicked off Wed Aug 11th with hundreds of guests in attendance at Helen Back Cafe in Fort Walton Beach
8/2/10 - OffleaseOnly.com continues FPC Courtesy Shuttle Program - Since February 2010 South Florida-based OffleaseOnly.com has continued its sponsorship support of FPC, by providing the ideal support vehicle.
8/2/10 - EMERALD COAST 2010 Poker Run Update - By the close of business today (8/02/2010) FPC staff reported that approximately 85 teams had been confirmed for the 18th Annual Emerald Coast Poker Run, with well over 125 teams expected.
7/27/10 - Bahamas Poker Run returns from Bimini - Six sun-drenched days of powerboating fun kept sixty five participants from the United States, Canada and Europe on an exciting excursion...
7/25/10 - OceanLed Underwater lights - As powerboaters continually seek the ultimate upgrades for their sexy offshore machines, OceanLed Underwater lights continue to lead in popularity...