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 poker run for charity fundraiser events in July 2001 in an effort to raise money to purchase a boat, special underwater cameras and diving equipment that could be used to locate drowning victims on Smith Lake more quickly.
The Smith Lake Task Force Dive Team, which also 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, uses the high-tech underwater cameras and diving equipment to search for victims of boating and drowning accidents not only on Smith Lake but also wherever such equipment might be needed around Alabama. The cameras and diving equipment have also been used in efforts to locate drowing victims on the Black Warrior River and Lake Tuscaloosa, as well as locate evidence in boating accidents and other crimes.
Beasley’s father, Harold Beasley, said since its inception the Mike Beasley Memorial Foundation Poker Run has raised an estimated $1 million for the various nonprofit organizations surrounding Smith Lake.
“We had a really good turn out this year, 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 event,” Beasley said. “This year we raised a grand total of $36,400 and after expenses, we were able to present $31,000 to the local charities we help support around Smith Lake. We would also like to thank our corporate and boathouse sponsors, because without them we would not be able to do this year after year.”
Beasley said this year’s corporate sponsors, who donated $1,000 each to the annual poker run included Carl Cannon Chevrolet, Lynn Latton Chevrolet, Flotation Systems, Justin Dyar, HydroHoist of Alabama, Rock Tin Box Manufacturing, Brown’s Discount Pharmacy, and Alabama Shoreline; and the boathouse sponsors who donated $500 each included Jeff Latton, Flotation Systems, Jackie Davis and Justin Dyar, Rambo Marines, First Bank of Jasper, Bank of Walker County and St. Vincent’s Orthopedics in Birmingham.
“We also collected donations from various individuals ranging from $100 to $750, and we sent every one of them a thank you card,” Beasley said. “You just don’t know what this means to me to get this kind of support for the Mike Beasley Memorial Foundation year after year.”
The Mike Beasley Memorial Foundation Poker Run is held the third Saturday in July each year, and anyone interested in being a sponsor or participating in next year’s event can contact Duskin Point Marina in Jasper at 205-384-6942 for more information.