An iconic American road trip awaits motorcyclists participating in the 44th annual edition of Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run, set for Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 15-18.
Riders on up to 10,000 bikes are expected to travel from mainland Florida to Key West along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, which stretches more than 100 miles and features 42 bridges over open water. The highway is Florida’s only federally designated All-American Road and has earned repeated recognition as one of the USA’s great scenic drives.
Beginning Sept. 1 bikers can register at Peterson’s Harley-Davidson of Miami, 19400 NW Second Ave., and Peterson’s Harley-Davidson South, 19825 S. Dixie Hwy.
Upon registering, each participant receives a poker sheet and can purchase a weekend parking band. Drivers of cars and trucks also can participate in the run.
Bikers who want to explore the Florida Keys prior to the main event can enjoy parties and adventure tours around the island chain beginning Monday, Sept. 11.
Starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, Poker Run participants can ride from Miami to Key West, stopping at designated points along the Overseas Highway to draw cards.
Entrants who draw the 10 best poker hands are eligible to play in a winner-take-all round of Texas Hold ‘Em, competing for $10,000 cash.
The high-stakes round is set for 11 p.m. Saturday at Rick’s Bar/Durty Harry’s, 202 Duval St. in Key West.
A section of lower Duval and Greene streets is to be closed to car traffic and open only to motorcycles and pedestrians during much of the Poker Run, so bikers with weekend parking bands can park on the street to display their bikes.
Other attractions include a Thursday night “Upper Duval Crawl” and bar stroll, vendor village, welcome party, custom bike show, “Biker Bash” and street party, tattoo contest, blessing of the bikes and live entertainment at Key West’s watering holes.
The Poker Run is a fundraiser for the Diabetes Research Institute and charities of the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club.
Events conclude Sunday, Sept. 18, with a biker brunch at the Two Friends Patio Restaurant, 512 Front St.