IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN PART ONE, BE SURE TO CHECK THAT OUT FIRST TO GET THE WHOLE STORY!
Surrounded by a sea of hardware every which way you looked, lunch and liquid thirst quenchers were consumed in a scene out of offshore heaven; yet as the peel and eat shrimp disappeared from the buffet trays, the darlings at the docks did the same. Once again, we were on our way.
Having left the rainbows and unicorns behind us in Annapolis, a pink blow-up flamingo perched on the sundeck of a Sea Ray just outside the Tolchester Marina was the next colorful character to greet us. Accompanying the big bird on the bow, a bikini-clad helper handed us our fourth round of cards. GPS coordinates were then set for the one-and-only Tiki Lees in Sparrows Point. This meant one thing -- time for the ta-tas.
News of the $5,000 first place prize for the Smirnoff-sponsored bikini contest must have reached the moon because the Tiki Lee's party complex of indoor and outdoor zones was stocked with spirited guests; all of which were in for a treat. A lineup of 32 sexy señoritas signed on to shake their boobies and booties in a competition that went on for eternity. Props to the funny-as-hell MC that kept us (or me) entertained and laughing throughout the pageant.
After a few hours of merriment, skies darkened, predicted late-afternoon storm clouds moved in overhead and most peeps peeled out. Rooster tails instantly grew as crews could be seen haulin' the mail back to Baltimore with high hopes of a pre-rain drop return to the marina, and an on-time arrival for the Hawaiian-fusion feast and winning $3,500 grand prize poker hand revelation, at Roy's of Baltimore.
From Friday hellos to Sunday signoffs, over the course of the weekend, team mates mixed and mingled as if coming out of winter hibernation and being reunited with old family. Seeing as most members were friends with David, Jimmy and/or Victor, everyone at least knew someone.
A handful of regular Chesapeake Bay boaters in the mix taking part in the Rockin' The Harbor Poker Run included -- Tom Archer in his giraffe-graphic inspired Baja, professional offshore racer from Mojo and Fast Boys Racing Stan Perkoski and his wife Lisa in their Fountain Fairlee Insatiable, and Kerry Paules in his awesome green and black Nor-Tech Pier Pressure.
However, not every team rolled in with a resume full of runs and matching t-shirts to its credit. For Andrew Failor, his wife Jodi and their buddy Travis out of Middle River, Pennsylvania, it was their first poker run. Andrew ran his 34-foot Lake Havasu-assembled Advantage, which is a rare boat to see on the East Coast waterways.
Apart from the rarity of the ride, Andrew was rather unique himself. Initially we all met at the welcome party over some smooth vodka lemonades, which apparently brought out the best in him. Before I knew it, he was showing off his perfectly choreographed "hand-stand on the dock skills". (Note: see below pictures for proof!)
Later he noticed me snapping shots of the tons of proudly hoisted Trump 2020 Keep America Great flags; and his next story for me was about the day Jodi and he acquired theirs. While on the bow of Unfair Advantage preparing to drop anchor at a raft-up, a friend on another boat had just purchased twenty or so of the Trump flags. Prompted to swim over and grab one, Andrew jumped in the water forgetting about the anchor in his hand which consequently, wrapped around his leg taking him deep under, before a quick Houdini move brought him back above water.
Hand-stand and anchor-man stories aside, the biggest high-performance news broadcast of the weekend came directly from the main host himself, David Landsman. Initially he was set to debut his spanking-new 43’ black and red Midnight Express freshly fitted with a five-pack of Mercury Racing Verado 450s, surprisingly however, he sold it the week prior while down in Nashville at the Mercury Racing launch. But, fast boat friends and fanatics fear not, a future Midnight Express is most certainly in the works.
Other good news is also in the works. Event producers told me the inaugural poker run generated so much enthusiasm, plans are already underway for round two next year. As boats pulled out on Sunday morning on route to the unofficial Sunday raft-up at Sue Creek or back to their hometown marinas, everyone was united by one common thread... their countdown to the second annual Rockin' The Harbor Poker Run on June 26-27, 2020.