Potential Organizational Changes for 2015 Desert Storm Poker Run

A week after being hospitalized for dehydration and a gastrointestinal issue during his busiest week of the year, Jim Nichols is making a sound recovery from surgery and checked in with speedonthewater.com to report some great news from the 2014 Desert Storm Poker Run.

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More than 150 boats participated in the 2014 Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Photo by Jay Nichols/Naples Image

Nichols, president of LakeRacer LLC, the organization behind the annual poker run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., said that the event raised $30,000 for the New Horizons Center in Lake Havasu and that nearly 100 boat rides were given during the Krusin’ 4 Kids portion of the event last Wednesday. He added that more than 90 boats and 40 vendor displays created a massive display during Thursday’s Street Party and that 152 boats registered for Friday’s poker run.

Featuring 67 runs, Saturday’s Shootout—which crowned a new King of the Desert, Gary Smith (read the story)—was followed up by the poker run celebration where the winners of the poker run jackpot were announced: Buck and Susan Stracener (first place), Chad and Diane Budge (second), Chris Winter (third) and Steven Sundling (fourth).

Although nothing is official, Nichols added that changes are in store for the 2015 event.

“I am looking to create a new organization to build upon our success and bring the event to a new level,” Nichols said. “We’ll be working with some seasoned event producers and industry leaders to see visions we can bring to the future.”

Nichols, who returned to the poker run on Friday afternoon following surgery Thursday morning, said he heard some comments about the lack of excitement from the “no group” poker run start that took place this year. He countered that the participants overwhelmingly enjoyed a more relaxed and fun boating atmosphere as they took their time running to the various card stops, rafting up with friends and taking in the sights and sounds of Lake Havasu.

“I must thank my fantastic staff for picking up the ball I dropped when my body couldn’t keep up with my drive and I spent four days in the hospital,” Nichols said. “My crew leads—Jim Nichols Jr., Karl Ecker, Dan Thompson, Gary Giertz, Mimi Groszewski and Scott Gazda—really stepped up. I also have to thank the wonderful Teague Custom Marine family for running the Krusin’ 4 Kids day and pumping up the charity auction for New Horizons.”

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