Friends gather at the Caribbean Club for the closing party of the benefit walk. At the Crib, there’s a silent auction, food, 50/50 drawing, basket of cheer, restaurant basket, and live music. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

The 12th annual Ralphie Bra/Pub/Poker Walk will take place in Key Largo on Sunday, Jan. 26. The 5-mile fundraiser takes place between Sharkey’s Pub & Galley Restaurant and the Caribbean Club, and includes stops at Hobo’s Café, The Catch, and Lazy Lobster. 

The fundraiser has a little of everything – food trucks, live music, 50/50 drawings, silent auctions and poker hands put together by pub-crawling to different bars. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at Sharkey’s, where participants can pick up poker sheets. The walk begins at 11 a.m. and at each subsequent stop, walkers pick up a poker card for their poker sheets. At the Crib, registrants will get their last poker cards and whoever has the best poker hand wins. There are contests for best decorated bra as well as raffles and tons of local prizes. 

“It’s such an awesome event. It’s so much fun,” said Kathy Snow, one of the organizers of the walk.

The annual event is named after Ralph “Ralphie” Smith, a popular Key Largo bartender who passed away in 2005. A simple walk began in his memory in 2006 and raised $1,500 in its first year. Proceeds were donated to the humane society, Smith’s favorite charity. Each year, the walk has gotten a little bigger, with just under 200 walkers last year raising almost $13,000.

“Ralph was a dear friend. He lived with me and my husband for many years,” Snow recalls.

 Smith used to bartend at Snook’s and was so popular, people would come to the bar just to visit him, said Snow. “He was just a funny, entertaining, kind-hearted, good person.”

A few years into the walk, Snow was diagnosed with fast-growing breast cancer. “That’s when we added the bra walk and started donating to a cancer charity,” she said. Since then, Snow has been running the walk with her friend Kristy Schweiss and their community of friends. “There’s a lot of people involved; I can’t take the credit.”

The organizers chose these specific charities to ensure that all proceeds raised stay local. The Cancer Foundation helps Monroe County residents going through cancer with their everyday living expenses – food, rent, or anything else they might need. “It makes us feel very good to raise money that’s staying in our community,” said Snow. “It’s very personal for all of us in this little community because Ralphie was a friend to us all. He would want that money to stay in the Keys to benefit the residents here and the community he loved.”

All proceeds raised that day go to the foundations. Donations can be made on the day of the walk at Sharkey’s or the Caribbean Club, or by calling Snow at 305-240-0476 or Schweiss at 305-394-2331.

Miami residents Andre Teixeira and Frank Soto came down for the bra walk. The pair decorated their coordinating bras in an ode to the ocean, with Teixeira’s toy mermaids being named “Tina” and Tiny,” and Soto’s being named “Francesca.” TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly.
The walk benefits both the humane society, which was Ralph Smith’s favorite charity, as well as the Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys, providing services to those in the community suffering from cancer. A dog walking in a bra captures both benefit charities. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly
While there are five official stops on the walk – Sharkey’s, Hobo’s, the Catch, Lazy Lobster, and the Caribbean Club – there’s also a coordinated, unofficial stop at the Circle K’s beer freezer for a “group selfie.” ALLAN TRUESDELL/Contributed
Miami residents Andre Teixeira and Frank Soto came down for the bra walk. The pair decorated their coordinating bras in an ode to the ocean, with Teixeira’s toy mermaids being named “Tina” and Tiny,” and Soto’s being named “Francesca.” TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly.

Things to know:
Most bars will take credit cards, but the Crib only takes cash.
The Catch has a buffet for $10.
The Crib will have a food truck.
$25 registration fee gets you 6 poker sheets, so you have 6 chances to win a poker hand.

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