Friday, May 7, 2021

Paddles and Poker



By Julia Barnett

If you’re looking for something fut to do in June, why not make it something that also does a lot of good?

Saturday, June 8th, will be the First Annual SUP Poker Run, benefitting Special Olympics Florida and our local Special Olympics SUP team. SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle, and it’s a sport that’s new to the Special Olympics world, working its miracles on the kids who need it.

The Special Olympics is the largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities in the world. It provides year-round games events, and training for over four million athletes all over the world. It is a program that allows people who are otherwise excluded to feel included and incredible, giving them a chance to show off athletic skill while participating and socializing when they might otherwise be uncomfortable to

Paddling out for a good time. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Paddling out for a good time. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

do so. It’s an amazing program that provides a safe place for people with intellectual disabilities to feel comfortable and happy.

A Poker Run, for those not in the know, is something that is normally done on land—with bicycles, motorcycles, vehicles, or on foot. The Run consists of five stops along a set route. At each stop, participants are given a playing card. The best hand at the end of the Run wins. Participants can but additional hands for $25 dollars. This particular Run is welcoming participants to travel on water as well as on land, whether that be by boat, jet ski, or even SUP. It’s a fun, new, Southwest Florida twist on the traditional Poker Run.

The SUP Poker Run will have registration from 9 to 9:30 AM, with the first card drawn at 10 AM, and the

Practice makes perfect.

Practice makes perfect.

last poker hand collected at 4 PM. The Run will begin at Capri Fish House on Isles of Capri.

Pre-registration will be $40, and registration on the day of the event will be $50. This price includes participation in the run, a T-shirt, food and a backpack of goodies. The proceeds will be used for the Special Olympics SUP team, including being used for uniforms, equipment, and funding and expenses for an upcoming Invitational competition in the Keys.

Don’t want to participate? Volunteers are always welcome, both for the SUP Poker Run event and for the program in general. If you need to rent a board for the Race, feel free to contact Sweetwater Paddlesports at 239-405-7155, or Beach Bum Surf & Supply at 239-776-0412. For more information, check out the SUP Poker Run Facebook page at, or send an email to

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