In Sept. 9 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal News Editor
Area marinas reported solid but not overwhelming, business over the Labor Day holiday weekend as the 2010 Lake Cumberland Poker Run at State Dock headlines this coming weekend with large numbers of attendees expected.
James Flatt, the manager of Alligator II Marina, said his dock wasn't overrun, but had a solid turnout this past weekend.
"It was about like a normal summer weekend," Flatt said. "Money-wise we were down but it was a good crowd and that shows that people are coming back to Lake Cumberland."
Flatt said that while folks are taking vacations, they are spending less money by renting cheaper cabins and houseboats.
"The cheaper stuff rents first but you can't blame them," Flatt said. "But they appear to be coming back."
A nationwide recession and a perception by some that the lowered lake levels, due to the work on Wolf Creek Dam, negatively affect the body of water may have kept some from visiting Lake Cumberland the past few years.
Jamestown Marina General Manager Bill Chamberlain also said his marina saw a good amount of boat traffic over the holiday weekend.
"It was a good weekend," he said. "The weather couldn't have been any better and our customers were out all weekend."
He said the marina's fuel pier, ship store, and café all stayed busy over the holiday break.
Both Flatt and Chamberlain said they were looking forward to the coming weekend, a date that marinas and docks have been waiting for all summer. That is when the big poker run, headquartered at State Dock, returns to the lake.
"That is the first weekend we book," Flatt said. "Even before the July 4th holiday it is Poker Run weekend that fills first."
He said this coming weekend would be the last big weekend before business begins to taper off as autumn approaches.
Chamberlain also said he expects a "full house," this weekend.
"All of our slips are full, our lodge is filled and all of our cabins are booked," he said. "We're absolutely looking forward to it, we'll continue on as long as the weather holds."
At State Dock a large number of participants are expected for the run as more than 80 participated in the event last year.
Debbie Schumann with the State Dock said she anticipated more than 100 entries this weekend.
"We want people to enjoy the show but give the boats plenty of space," she said. The driver meetings begin at 9 a.m. Saturday while the actual run begins at 10 a.m.
She said the various boats will go out by class with the fastest boats leaving the dock first.
"We are ready for a big weekend," she said. The band Caught Red Handed will also be playing Saturday night at the dock with an admission fee of $20 needed for entry. All persons attending must be 21 years of age.
Thousands of people are expected to line the shores and sit in boats along the course to watch the fast boats roar up the water going speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The Corps of Engineers estimate that roughly 30,000 people watch the run each year.
The run begins 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."
Schumann also said this past weekend was rewarding for the dock as well as most of the houseboats were full.
"We also had a couple of the tvs set up while the U of L-UK football game was going on," she said. A band also performed that night.