OCEAN CITY TODAY | 11 October 2013
Maryland Coastal Bays Poker Paddle Pandemonium is back for the second year this Sunday, Oct. 13, raising money for the Coastal Bays Program.
“It’s going to be another beautiful weekend,” Coastal Bays Development and Marketing Coordinator Sandi Smith said. “It’s just a fun, fun time.”
Last year’s poker paddle drew 12 teams of four members each, raising around $2,500 for programs that help keep the waterways behind Assateague and Ocean City clean, Smith said. She’s hoping for a bigger turnout in the second annual event after feedback last year.
The inaugural event “went great. Everybody who did it just loved it,” she said.
This year’s Poker Paddle will feature food and happy hour specials at each of five stops — Seacrets on 49th Street, Fager’s Island on 60th Street, Finnigan’s at the Princess Bayside on 48th Street, 45th Street Taphouse and a committee boat stationed between the venues — where paddlers will pick up cards for their poker hands.
There are no prizes for speed in the event, but those with the most creative costumes and best poker hands will take home trophies.
Each registered participant will be provided a kayak and paddling equipment by 48th Street Watersports for the event. Or, participants can provide their own non-motorized boats (kayaks, canoes or paddle boards) for a reduced entry fee.
A Wilderness Systems Kayak, Pungo 120 will be raffled at the end of the poker paddle.
Funds raised will go toward projects such as the Bishopville dam project, the Seal Appeal program and a ghost crab pot initiative, Smith said.
The Bishopville dam has been a hot topic for debate for years, as Maryland Coastal Bays and other groups have sought to create a better flow of water in the branch that is a major spawning area for fish, Smith said.
“We’re getting really close to where we need to be to get that project done,” she said.
The Coastal Bays Program has also partnered with the National Aquarium to raise awareness of seal’s increasing presence in the area with its Seal Appeal program.
The crab pot initiative is a joint awareness-data collection project, encouraging people to put turtle excluders on their pots to help keep threatened terrapin turtles out and retrieving pots for study and data collection, Smith said.
Maryland Coastal Bays Poker Paddle Pandemonium is open to anyone age 21 or older, with all levels of paddling experience. The entry fee is $50 per person, or $45 for those who provide their own non-motorized boats. Entrants can come in teams of four or will be matched into teams at the event. Costumes are encouraged.
Registration is open the day of the event from 12-1 p.m. at Seacrets. The paddle ends around 5 p.m. Bring a change of clothes.
Learn more about the Maryland Coastal Bays Program at www.mdcoastalbays.org.