Poker run beats odds, raises $28k
by Elane Jones
Jul 23, 2012 | 3510 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Harold Beasley, at right, announces door prize winners after the Mike Beasley Memorial Poker Run on Smith Lake Saturday afternoon. Photo by: Elane Jones
Harold Beasley, at right, announces door prize winners after the Mike Beasley Memorial Poker Run on Smith Lake Saturday afternoon. Photo by: Elane Jones
SMITH LAKE — Gloomy weather may have led to a lack of participants in this year’s Mike Beasley Memorial Foundation Poker Run held Saturday on Lewis Smith Lake, but the 12th annual fundraiser still managed to beat the odds and raise an estimated $28,000.

The poker run is held each year in memory of Duskin Point Marina owner, Mike Beasley, who lost his life in a boating accident in May 2001. Beasley’s family set up the foundation in his memory and began hosting the event in July 2001.

During Saturday’s event, Beasley’s father, Harold Beasley, said since its inception, the poker run has raised a total $750,000, which has been donated to various nonprofit organizations, including the Smith Lake Task Force, volunteer fire and rescue departments surrounding the lake, and local humane societies.

“I think the weather hurt us a little bit this year. We were down in numbers from last year, but overall, we still had a pretty good day,” Harold Beasley said. “And I want to thank all the folks who came out and participated, as well as everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s poker run.”

A total of 406 people participated in this year’s event and visited nine different stops on Smith Lake to collect playing cards in the hopes of winning the $500 grand prize.

Beasley said after all the participants turned in their best hands at the end of the event, there were a total of six royal flushes vying for the grand prize. The names holding winning hands had to be put into a bucket, and a drawing was held to see who would be the big winner of the 2012 MBMF Poker Run, which ended up being Jeff Harrison of Jasper.

The group also gave away $300 for the Best Boathouse Stop, which was a tie between Flotation Systems of Alabama and Jackie Davis and Justin Byars. Those stops donated the funds back to the foundation, Beasley

A drawing was held for a number of door prizes, some of the winners included, Addison Rescue, which won a free pontoon rental for a day from Duskin Point Marina; Casey Hambrick, who won the 42-inch flat screen TV; Ted Norris, who won a charcoal grill/smoker combo; Mark Wilson, who won a $100 in gasoline from Duskin Point Marina; Jim Lasole, who won a Remington shotgun and Lona Shubert, who won a wake board from Nelems Marine.

Patio Piers, in conjunction with GameDay Sportz, also held a drawing at the conclusion of the poker run for a Patio Piers Outdoor Cooking and Utility Deck with lock-in accessories valued at $1,630. Tickets were sold prior to and on the day of the poker run and the proceeds from drawing, which raised an estimated $1,700, was donated to the Smith Lake Task Force.

The Smith Lake Task Force was established in 2001 in memory of Mike Beasley in conjunction with the Alabama Marine Police, Walker, Winston and Cullman county sheriff’s offices and EMA offices. The task force uses high-tech underwater cameras and diving equipment to search for victims of boating and drowning accidents, not only on Smith Lake, but wherever such equipment is needed.

One of the more popular stops the participants made during the poker run without a doubt has to be “Hot Dog Island” where a grand total of $1,000 in donations was raised during this year’s event.

“The folks who work on Hot Dog Island do a wonderful job, as do all of our volunteers for without them we couldn’t do this,” Beasley said. “And the Good Lord willing we’re planning on doing it again next year.”

The Mike Beasley Memorial Foundation Poker Run is held the third Saturday in July each year, and anyone interested in participating in next year’s event can contact Duskin Point Marina in Jasper at 205-384-6942 for more information.