Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Poker Run Raises Funds for Good Cause

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Poker Run Raises Funds for Good Cause

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Staff writer

It will begin with an armada of about 80 speedboats cruising out of the Florida Tackle and Gun Club on Goodby's Lake at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow en route to The Jacksonville Landing.

The boats are part of the fifth annual Baja Challenge Poker Run and will cruise to five checkpoints in the St. Johns River so their captains can grab a playing card at each and try to build a winning hand.

But when these high-performance boats pull in to the Landing around noon, their captains and crews will have done more than play a nautical card game.

Through registration fees that began at $200 for the captain and $50 per crew member, plus a charity auction, they will have raised thousands of dollars for AngelAID, which helps some of Jacksonville's terminally and critically ill children.

AngelAID President Carl Shipley said the event, which includes a dinner and auction tonight, has raised $100,000 in its five years to provide counseling, medicine and other services to the 2,000 children they serve. That makes the poker run one of the charity's biggest fund-raisers, and it is eagerly anticipated by the children as well as participants.

"They will tell you this is not a poker run. This is a poker run for Carl's kids, and that is the exciting part," Shipley said. "I have invited the children to the Landing to be able to see the boats, and it will be fun. We never really talk money to these kids, but they are having a glorious, wonderful time."

Ten-year-old Aaron Sheffield is looking forward to the poker rally, as he is one of five children riding aboard a gold Baja Cruiser named Angel Wings. He said he is getting a chance to repeat the same trip his 12-year-old brother Jonathan did in a rally boat four years ago, three weeks before he died of scleroderma.

"I feel kind of good, and I really want to go, see my friends and have memories about my brother," he said. "I have never been on a boat. …

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