In Sept. 3 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
This year's Lake Cumberland Poker Run is just over a week away and officials at State Dock are expecting a large turnout for both participants and attendees for the annual event.
Held on Lake Cumberland and managed through State Dock at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, the fast boats will run the lake on Sept. 11-13 with the main action Saturday, Sept. 12.
"Everything is looking good," said Bill Jasper, president at State Dock. "Pre-registration has been going good and all boat positions are reserved."
Jasper said he anticipates more than 100 boats to attend and run the event.
"We normally have 120 (boats) sign up," he said. "Then there are roughly 30,000 people watch the run ... that's what the Corps has said in the past."
The thousands of people line the shoreline along the lake or sit in boats along the course to watch the fast boats roar up the lake's waters going speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The course takes place over most of the main lake, according to Jasper.
Beginning at State Dock near Jamestown, the participants first travel to Burnside Marina in Pulaski County after first stopping for a "card" at Conley Bottom Marina in Wayne County, then back to State Dock, then to Grider Hill Marina on Indian Creek in Clinton County, then back to finish at State Dock and see who managed to get the winning "hand."
"We have the same course and routine as usual this year," Jasper said.
The first group of boats depart from State Dock uplake at 10 a.m. central time. That group is followed by five other groups leaving in five minute intervals.
"We're going around to the other docks and marinas and posting signs warning people to get to the sides of lake when the guys come through," he said. "We want to advise people to keep their wake to a minimum once the runs start."
Jasper said for people to be cautious on the water from 10 a.m. until noon on the east end of the lake and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on the west end of the lake.
He said the start of this year's run will be altered just a bit for safety reasons with the lead boat going at a slower speed until reaching the open waters of the main lake.
Last year's run was marred by tragedy just minutes after it started when Kevin Sellers and his passenger Craig Stumpf were thrown from their boat, a 36-foot Skater when it tumbled repeatedly at speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour.
Sellers was severely injured in the wreck and declared dead at Russell County Hospital a short time later. Stumpf recovered from his injuries sustained in the wreck.
Jasper said this year's event, planned for the weekend following Labor Day, is free and that people were welcome to come down to the dock or boat up to the dock and tie up and check out the fast boats for themselves.
He did say that the Saturday nigh entertainment featuring the band "Caught Red Handed" would be a $20 admission but other than Saturday night entertainment, the event is free to all.
"The party barge is back and there will be a few exhibitors and sponsors set up," he said.
"We invite everyone to come out, tie up and enjoy this year's event."
The Lake Cumberland Poker Run is ranked in the Top 10 by Extreme Boats Magazine as one of the best poker runs in the country and has been honored by the the Kentucky Tourism Council as one of the state's "Top Ten" fall events.