Custom bikes, tricked out rides, sidecars, and antique automobiles… It doesn’t matter what you ride or drive, the islands are about to be ignited with motorcycles and custom cars! What started as a joyride to liven up the streets during the slow September month, is now a boon for businesses; and, more importantly sweetens the Sunrise Rotary Scholarship Foundation.
“It’s gonna get noisy,” remarks Chris Pare, Sunrise Rotarian and Chairman of this year’s event.
We’re inside his Duval Street Historic Cigar Alley, chilling with the owner, a dog named Duke. The aromas of tobacco, leather, and dog waft through the thick September air. Pare begins to fill in The Key West Weekly.
“Mike Horn and Phil Peterson, founding Sunrise Rotary members took off on a trek. For years, they split the proceeds, donating to a charity of their desire. Then it became evident the new Key West Rotary Club needed a major fundraiser and he offered up half in the bike run, now and forever.”
Peterson’s chunk all goes towards diabetic research.
“We want the Keys’ community to understand bike weekend is not a profit-driven event. There aren’t funds that don’t end up in the hands of people who need it,” Duke keeps a watchful eye on the door as “his mascot” Pare goes on. “The other half of the proceeds are all for Key West High School scholarships.
“Even in the event of a hurricane,” Duke wanders over to grab a blow-up beach ball, his toy of choice since he quit chomping cigars, “we’re still able to give money to the kids.”
The kids aren’t the only ones who make out. The hotels and motels will fill up 100%!
“We’re seeing a growth of people coming in early and staying late,” Pare takes The Weekly into the humidor. “We’ve expanded to have events on Thursday and Sunday before and after the poker run.”
Chris, who took on the responsibility “because no one else would raise their hand”, is stoked about the Duval Bar Stroll to take place the Thursday before. The starting sober point, Historic Cigar Alley.
“At each,” Chris chats about the pre-party “there is a libation of the institution’s choice being offered. You can drink that or not.”
You don’t have to roll on a Harley to roll with the Sunrise Rotarians. Anyone can get involved, but beware: this isn’t a family event.
As for the poker, you can start drawing your hand now, $10 a pop, unlimited times.
“There’s a 5-card draw with the top hands going head-to-head for a one-time Texas Hold’em style game. The winner rides off in an 883 Sporster Custom. Then you don’t have a reason not to ride.”
Chris Pare, Sunrise Rotarian and Chairman of this year’s poker run with the owner of Historic Cigar Alley, Duke. “All of the money goes to charities. There isn’t any money being made,” says Pare. “So support the revelers no matter how loud their ride!”
Peterson’ Poker Run Bike Week 2009
Now – Pre-Registration at Peterson’s Harley-Davidson Locations
Conch Republic Seafood Co.
Poker Run Schwag on Sale!
Thursday, Sept. 17 – Poker Run Bar Stroll $25
5 pm Historic Cigar Alley
Hot Dudes, Biker Babes Contest
Southernmost Hotel 8:30 pm
Friday, September 18th – Registration 9 am – 11 pm
Both Peterson’s Harley Davidson locations
Conch Republic Seafood Company
Key West Sunrise Rotary Raffle
Poker Run Vendor Village on Greene
Street 11am till 11pm.
Hog Roast Welcome Party, Schooner Wharf Bar 5 pm
Saturday, September 19th – Registration 8 am – noon
Both Peterson’s locations.
Conch Republic Seafood Company, 9 am until 5pm
Poker Run Vendor Village on Greene St 11am-11pm
Rick’s/Durty Harry’s Bike Show. Registration from 9am – 3pm $25
Awards 9 pm
Paradise Tattoo Contest.
Registration at 2pm
Contest at 3pm
Bikini show at 6pm.
Sloppy Joe’s Biker Bash noon – 11
Contests, from 1 pm till 4 pm
Biker Bash Pool Party
Southernmost Hotel noon – 4pm poolside.
The Main Event! Texas Hold Em’ Grand Finale 11pm.
Guy Harvey Grill
Sunday, September 20th – Blessing of the Bikes 9 am
Across from White Street Pier
Free Continental Breakfast
Biker Bloody Mary Brunch & Poker
Run Survivor’s Beach Party
10 am – 2 pm
Southernmost Beach Café
50/50 Raffle Drawing