This is not really a true statement, but I swear everyone I know is heading to the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run—or already there, right first-to-arrive Windship MTI owner John Woodruff?—to take part in the one-of-a-kind 200-mile poker run in the Louisiana Bayou this week. Of course, Pete Boden, chief photographer for speedonthewater.com, is on his way, as are several of my West Coast friends—Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance with his 30-foot Skater Powerboats cat, John Caparell with his 32-foot Doug Wright Poker Run Edition cat and the Speedboat magazine team of Ray Lee and Todd Taylor.
And many of my local cohorts, Dave Branton (who will be showing off VOODOO, his brand-new 38-foot Skater), Jeff Ford, Nate Michel, Keith Nunez, Michael Pierce and more, are going to be representing in the poker run—although Michel has plans to do the run by helicopter since the MTI he’s updating isn’t ready yet. Yesterday I even saw a picture of the massive MTI-V 57 luxury performance center console owned by South Carolina’s Todd and Debby Campbell being delivered to the host location—Blood River Landing in Springfield, La.
Needless to say, I’m disappointed I’m not en route to the Bayou to cover the annual two-day event that features eight stops that are open on both Friday and Saturday. Yeah the parties at the Blood River Landing’s Fun House are not to be missed, but I’m wishing I could be on hand to see all of the cool boats and people. Especially after one of the organizers, Casey Harrison, shared pictures last week of the original Tickfaw 200 Poker Run map from 1998. While it’s hard to believe the poker run is 20 years old, the event has grown accordingly in size and in terms of the amount of money it gives back to the community.
Here’s the thing—and I’ll step down from my pulpit in a second—I hope everyone has a safe, fun event, so that it can continue for another 20 years. It’s easy, start by designating a driver, and keep your wits about you. I don’t have to say much else since Harrison sent out a reminder last week to those attending Tickfaw that emphasized safety and what the event is all about. Here are the 10 bullet points he shared.
1. Make sure your boat is ready for this.
2. Remember this isn’t a race—please watch out for slower boats and locals who are out to see you and your boat.
3. Wear your lanyard.
4. Keep an eye on the weather.
5. Have a sober captain and a backup captain in case you have too many beverages.
6. Life jackets are your best friend while on the water.
7. The rivers are curvy—do not run more then one wide and reduce speed in the rivers.
8. Drive like the rivers are a road—stay on your side.
9. Have liability insurance on your boat.
10. Have fun! There is always time to cut loose when the boats are tied up.
Photos courtesy Tickfaw 200 Poker Run
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.