The Smith Mountain Lake Boating Association holds an annual charity event on the 3rd weekend in May each year, called the Tom Maynard Memorial Poker Run. I knew it had something to do with boating, and the name made it sound like a card game. So this year I tracked down a little more detailed information about this event. As it turns out, this fundraiser sounds rather fun.
The Poker Run starts on the Friday before the event. Everybody signs in to receive their Captain’s Packet, and then they proceed to have a lively night with a delicious dinner, music and entertainment, and a special boating safety orientation. Then on Saturday, May 17th, the main phase of the event begins.
This part involves all boats leaving from the same marina and participants stopping at designated points to select playing cards, then returning to the marina once they have collected cards from all the registered stops. Then captains and their crews scour the lake for the best poker hand. Due to the size of the lake and distances traveled between stops this will take several hours.
When all boats have returned and submitted and registered their cards, there will be some great prizes for the crew that has the best hand. There are also winners for the worst hand, marked aces, best-dressed crew, best-engineered boat, best-appearing boat, most players on a boat, (and if it were ever to happen) four aces.
The race to get the best card hand is followed by a cookout/barbecue where awards are given to the winners. As you can see this is a ton of fun for those participating and even for the onlookers. But more importantly, this Poker Run raises money for local lake charities that help keep our lake and community safe and clean.