In Sept. 17 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Despite the number of boats being down this year, the Lake Cumberland Poker Run still managed to draw the largest crowd ever for the event, according to Bill Jasper, president at State Dock.
Jasper said a total of 81 entries participated in the event this year.
“We're typically over 100 but I believe it was down some due to the economy but we still had a great Poker Run,” he said. “The crowd was huge. It was the biggest one I've ever seen for an event like this.”
Jasper said everyone was well behaved and that most of the areas on the lake were full of poker run fans. “It was big time,” he said.
Thousands of people lined the shores and sat in boats along the course to watch the fast boats roar up the water going speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The run began at State Dock near Jamestown, with the participants first traveling 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.”
The following are the results from the run:
• 1st place ($4,000) - PJ Breeding, Floyds Knob, Ind. - 4 of a Kind (4 Deuces)
• 2nd Place ($1,500) - Vince Carlucci, Lexington, Ky.- Queen High Straight
• 3rd Place ($750) - Wendall Hansel, Cleves, Ohio - 3 of a Kind (3 Kings, Jack, Seven)
• 4th Place ($500) - Bill Kohler, Dawsonville, Ga. - 3 of a Kind (3 Kings, Jack, Deuce)
• 5th Place ($350) - JC Williams, Catlettsburg, Ky. - 3 of a Kind (3 tens)
Jasper said safety was also emphasized this year following the death of a poker run participant in last year's run.
“We had a couple of changes,” he said. “We delayed them a bit at the start to take care of some of the congestion on the lake and the water patrol did a good job of helping out.”
The lead boat also went at a slower speed until it reached the open waters of the main lake.
State Dock had signs made and placed at about 40 launching ramps around the lake that informed boaters what time the poker run contestants would be at any given time on the lake and to stay clear during those listed times.
Roughly 30,000 people watch the run each year, according to Corps of Engineer estimates.
All of State Dock's houseboats were rented and Jasper said he believed most of the other marinas had all their boats rented out as well.
State Dock's “boatels,” or houseboats that do not leave the marina, were also all booked on “Boatel Row.”
“It was our biggest weekend of the year,” Jasper said. “The Saturday night entertainment with Caught Red Handed was huge and the party barge was rocking.”
With an atmosphere reminiscent of Mardi Gras, there were large crowds on the marina both Friday and Saturday night.
Caught Red Handed, a rock band from Lexington, performed in front of a standing room only crowd on Saturday.
Down “Boatel Row,” Bill Kingery also played music for another big crowd with his sound system and laser show both nights.
He also had a big projection screen television showing the Ohio State vs USC football game.
“It is about bringing the tourists back,” Jasper said. “It is about promoting the lake.”
“I had some of the participants tell me that this was the ideal lake to run a poker run on,” Jasper said.
He also said the weather was beautiful and helped to equate a friendly weekend atmosphere. “We finally got a break.”
Jasper also said the National Houseboat Expo's On Water House Boat Show, presented by Houseboat Magazine, will be held Sept. 25-27 at State Dock.
Along with a Jimmy Buffett knock-off band and barbecue and cajun food, Jasper said numerous houseboat manufacturers will be showcasing their new models, with live test runs and trials,on the water.
“We have a lot of vendors coming in,” he said. “It should be another big weekend.”