Rev up your golf carts and let's play poker
This Friday I will see a veritable convoy of golf carts assembling in the parking lot of the chamber building at 1:55 p.m. Some will have a single driver; most will have two or more riders. They come inside, hand Dosi Loverro, our office manager, $10 and stick out their arms for the thread of pink ribbon that signifies they've paid their ante. Then they'll be slightly impatient as I tell them the rules of the game. They're preparing to participate in the First Friday Golf Cart Poker Run, an event we hold as a way of introducing local residents to businesses they may not have previously patronized. Within 10 minutes of their arrival, riders will be out the door and heading across the road to Sun Towers to meet the staff, enjoy some refreshments, get their first playing card and hear Debbie Caneen tell them about all of Sun Tower's amenities and services before directing them to the next stop.This week they'll also visit Boggs Jewelers near U.S. 301, then go all the way back to Upper Creek Drive to get a card from Freedom Plaza. I hope everyone's batteries are charged. At every stop, the participants will learn about the local business and perhaps be given a key chain, map or other handout. Back at the chamber, my staff and I will be busy setting up the banquet room for the After Run Party. The fax machine will whir into wakefulness and spit out a sign-in sheet from one of the poker stops. As we track their progress from one business to another, we will set up the prizes and refreshments in the banquet room. Representatives from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the event where we have some fun, see who got the best hand and give out some prizes. The participants will wander in a few at a time, showing us their best poker hands and telling us what fun they had. It isn't a race, but those who make it back first have more time to enjoy a beer or glass of wine and chat with Bucs reps. Finally all the players will be checked in and their hands reviewed. Will a full house win this week or will a simple three-of-a-kind do? Either way, we'll have something for first, second and third place. Some of the participants have done the Poker Run in previous months and have developed friendly competitions with other carts. Others will be here Friday for the first time. If you're interested in joining them, make sure you're here by 2 p.m. Don't have a golf cart? No problem; we'll have some here for you to use. No excuse for not participating this week, or next month. Just make sure the battery has lots of juice, because you'll have lots of new places to go, things to see and playing cards to collect. Good luck!
Dana Dittmar is executive director of the Greater Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce.