At the 2010 National Houseboat Expo in Louisville, Ky., a lot of great prizes were won by those who entered the All Hands on Deck Poker Run. The top five hands on Saturday were eligible to win a Qwest pontoon boat from Apex Marine or a scenic boat tour in Maine, while the top five hands for Sunday's poker run were given a chance to win a Smokercraft fishing boat.
On Saturday evening the top five were dealt one card at a time, in turn, and the player with the lowest hand after all five cards were dealt was dismissed from the running for the pontoon boat. But don't worry; each of the runners-up was given a consolation prize to make their trip back home more enjoyable. In the end, Kathy Abernathy from Nashville, Tenn. won the final showdown with a pair of aces, ironically the logo of the Poker Run posters that were displayed at the show. Talk about fate!
Abernathy and her husband Rob, first-timers at the Expo, were thrilled with the win. Today the Apex pontoon with a Yamaha 50hp four-stroke engine is docked at Elm Hill Marina in Tennessee in the slip next to their houseboat. After winning the pontoon, the Tennessee couple had just one small addition that they wanted to make to their new boat-decals.
"We did give the boat a name and the name of the boat is Nice Pair with double aces because that's how I won it," explains Kathy. "We played on the water with it all summer with our friends and family and had a fabulous time."
With the attractive new logo on the front of her Qwest pontoon, Kathy now has a great story to go with her boat when people stop her on Percy Priest Lake.
Trip To Maine
The second-place prize, a pontoon tour in Maine from scenic River Run Tours, went to Wesley White, of Knoxville, Tenn., who ended up letting his mother and her friends go in his place. The tour included accommodations for up to four people in a suite at the Bath Brunswick Hampton Inn on the Kennebec River, a visit to the Marine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, and a seafood feast on a working commercial pier by Five Islands Lobster Company. Other highlights of the package included a trip to Burnt Island Lighthouse in historic Boothbay Harbor, dinner and drinks at Byrnes Irish Pub (or The Admiral Steakhouse), as well as dinner and drinks at the Kennebec Tavern & Marina.
Of course the person responsible for bringing all of this together was Captain Ed Rice, whose scenic coastal tours are enough to lure anyone to the state of Maine.
With Captain Ed's River Run Tours business, the pontoon owner can take clients to places you wouldn't think possible to see wildlife, lighthouses or whatever else you'd like to see up close. His pontoon makes an excellent platform for his tours and his business operates out of the Kennebec Tavern and Marina in Bath on the Kennebec River. Captain Ed works hard to get you to the places you want to see and he'll squeeze as much or as little into each trip as you want.
"The trip to Bath was great. I enjoyed every minute of it," said Katherine White. "Everyone there was so nice to us and Captain Ed was responsible for us having such a good time. I will always remember this trip."
"It was a perfect vacation," added Rachel Nielson. "Bath is the most memorable place and I have not stopped talking about it since I returned home. I would love to return someday."
"A special thanks to all the participants including Joe Byrnes at Byrnes Irish Pub, Gene and Kristi Nygaard from Kennebec Tavern, Jenn Libby and Brigit Cavenaugh at Hampton Inn and of course Captain Ed," wrote Katherine in an email. "Amy Lent at Maine Maritime Museum helped also, as well as Keith Longbottom at Five Islands Lobster Co."
Captain Ed is happy to customize his trips at River Run Tours to make sure your next trip to Maine is a great and memorable one.
Smokercraft Fishing Boat
Another good crowd showed up Sunday morning, and people once again began picking up their cards for a chance to win the Smokercraft boat. This time around, Javan Montgomery from Taylorsville Lake Marina, just 30 miles from Louisville, had the best poker hand.
"We've always wanted a nice little fishing boat like this for the marina, and this will be a perfect fit," he explained.
The Smokercraft fishing boat package that included an Evinrude 60hp engine and trailer found a nice home at the Taylorsville Lake Marina, but it wasn't necessarily made available as a rental option, at least not at first. Montgomery might have won the boat, but it was marina manager Jerry Sewell and co-worker Chris Muhrer who wanted to make sure the boat was properly "broke in" by taking it out on a few fishing trips after work first.
Taylorsville Lake Marina (www.taylorsvillelakemarina.com) has plenty of great options when it comes to renting a boat and if the new Smokercraft fishing boat is deemed officially ready by Sewell and Muhrer by spring, it might be available to rent this year as well.
For more information on the prizes to be given away at the 2011 Houseboat Expo March 18-20, visit www.houseboatexpo.com.