KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Motorcyclists from throughout the United States are to travel one of America’s most scenic highways to raise money for charity during the 38th annual Key West Poker Run, set for Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 16-19.
Riders on up to 10,000 bikes are expected to traverse the Overseas Highway (U.S. Highway 1), the 113-mile roadway from mainland Florida to Key West that features 42 bridges and long vistas of breathtaking open water.
Beginning Sept. 1 bikers can register at Peterson’s Harley-Davidson of Miami, 19400 N.W. 2nd Ave., and Peterson’s Harley-Davidson South, 19825 S. Dixie Highway. Online registration is accepted before that date at www.petersonsharley.com.
Upon registering and making a $10 donation, each participant receives a poker sheet and weekend parking pass. Additional “poker hands” are available for $10 apiece. Drivers of cars and trucks also can participate in the run.
For early arrivals in Key West, a bar stroll is planned on Upper Duval Street Thursday night, Sept. 16, ending in a beach party at the Southernmost Beach Café, 1405 Duval St.
Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17, Poker Run participants are to ride the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West, stopping at designated points to draw cards. The fifth and final stop is Key West’s Conch Republic Seafood Co., 631 Greene St.
Entrants who draw the 10 best poker hands are eligible to play in a winner-take-all round of Texas Hold ‘Em, competing for a new Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster custom motorcycle. The action takes place at Guy Harvey’s Island Grill, 511 Greene St., at 11 p.m. Saturday.
The lower part of Key West’s famed Duval Street is to be closed to car traffic during much of the Poker Run so bikers with weekend parking passes can park on the street to display their bikes.
Saturday, Sept. 18, Big Bike Riders Association representatives are to judge the annual custom bike show with proceeds earmarked for charity. Events take place in front of Rick’s/Durty Harry’s, 208 Duval St., with trophies awarded in multiple classes. Registration costs $25 per bike.
Bike aficionados also can find merchandise including motorcycle accessories and apparel at the Poker Run Vendor Village on Greene Street just off Duval.
Sloppy Joe’s, 201 Duval St., hosts its annual “Biker Bash” from noon until 11 p.m. Saturday, with contests including a wacky “Bikers on Tricycles” challenge.
Poker Run attendees can chill out from noon to 4 p.m. at a pool party at the Southernmost Hotel, 1319 Duval St., with music and giveaways. The annual Paradise Tattoo Contest and bikini show are planned Saturday at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.
Sunday events include a morning blessing of the bikes, followed by a Bloody Mary brunch and beach party at the Southernmost Beach Café.
For details including a full schedule, visit www.petersonskeywestpokerrun.com.
For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit www.fla-keys.com