As the snow begins to fall in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, things are heating up in Key West. The Southernmost city in the continental United States is home to the Super Boat International (SBI) Offshore World Championships and the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) Key West Poker Run Presented by Mercury Racing.
Race. Win. Repeat.
We are there in force with factory reps supporting both events. Mercury Racing QC4 sterndrives compete in the Superboat Unlimited class, while the legacy 300XS outboards are featured propulsion for stock outboard competitors. The race format entails three days of racing: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Class championships are awarded to those with the greatest number of points earned throughout the week.
Best Hand Wins
Over 90% of the Key West Poker Run participants rely on Mercury Racing propulsion. That is an impressive stat considering a record 215 boats are registered for this year’s event. The engine mix ranges from our legacy two-stroke 300XS outboard to the Dual Calibration QC4 1550 sterndrive. The 400R is by far the most popular outboard – the power of choice for high-performance catamarans and center consoles.
“It’s truly amazing how the sport continues to evolve with new technology. We could never have imagined Verados from Mercury and Mercury Racing would account for 50% of our poker run fleet!” said FPC founder Stu Jones.
I reached out to Stu to get his input regarding the state of the club and performance boating in general.
“It just keeps getting more and more exciting … as new blood comes to our membership roster, and I continue to meet people from across the country and around the globe.”
“There’s a passion among these people that drives me and keeps me focused on running some of the biggest and safest poker run events in the country. I strive to work with other organizers as well, so we can achieve a common goal of growing our sport and bring new blood to performance boating.”
“Technological advancements have greatly enhanced the user experience. The boats are going farther, skipping fuel stops, and completing the poker run every time. Our attrition numbers for a typical run are down to single digits, which is something that we would never think possible. I’m having a real hard time giving away the broken propeller award because everybody seems to get there now.”
“We appreciate the continued support from Mercury Racing … which recognizes the importance of the sport and the lifestyle that it gives to so many people. Our 26th Key West Poker Run is underway with a fantastic start, beautiful weather in the Keys.”
FPC’s poker run village, located at Conch Republic Sea Food Company will be hopping into the weekend with participants and fans alike checking out the awesome hardware on display from various performance boat builders and associated vendors.
Resto Mod Cigarette
Project 1080, the FPC’s Resto Mod pace boat, is on static display in the Cigarette booth at the Key West Poker Run village. The Cigarette booth is adjacent to our Mercury Racing Experience Truck display.
The boat is flanked with display panels featuring a timeline of the restoration project as well as FPC’s 25-year history, along with the history of the legendary Cigarette brand.
Mercury Racing Experience
Our Experience Truck will be packed with exciting product displays and our factory reps will be eager to talk about them. Featured products include the versatile Dual Calibration 1350/1100 sterndrive, the all-new V-8 4.6L 300R FourStroke outboard and 400R cutaway outboard display.
For those of you lucky enough to be in Key West, be sure to stock up on Official Mercury Racing Merchandise – available for purchase at the Racing truck. Merchandise will be sold Thursday through Saturday.