Poker Run

People in Key West love to complain. “Too many tourists”, “Not enough tourists to make a living”, “Too many cruise ships”. I could go on and on. Last weekend marked the annual Poker Run, during which about 10,000 bikers come into town.

Some bikers remove their mufflers, so their motorcycles become louder. Some have giant tattoos. Some wear frightening leather bikinis, not just the women, either. Oh wait, that might be Fantasy Fest. There are events for charity and restaurants and bars proudly hang signs “Welcome Bikers”.

Yet there are those that complain. I love the Citizen’s Voice column in the newspaper where people call in their comments and complaints. One person complained that the noise rattles the pictures on the walls. Others complain about poor behavior. There are even people that like Poker Run. Here are some actual quotes from yesterday’s Citizen:

The Sarcastic one: “Thirty-eight years ago, a man named Phil Petersen had a tiny motorcycle repair shop on Caroline Street. At the time, Key Westers were extremely interested in ways to get tourist dollars here. Now Petersen, 89, and his sons are among the largest American motorcycle dealers in the world. They carry on the tradition to help Key West and donate to charity. But obviously, we don’t need the money, especially in September— when it’s DEAD!”

The Get-Out-Of-My-Town one: “I am sick and tired of all you
locals complaining about the noise associated with the annual Poker Run. I live and work in Key West and understand the economic importance of this event. It is second only to Fantasy Fest in revenue … to all of you complainers out there, if you want to live in a retirement community, then move to Boca and quit complaining!”

The Glass-Is-Half-Full-Sort-Of one: “I’ll take Poker Run over spring break any day!”

And, my personal favorite, the embodiment of the One Human Family Motto: “I am surprised at people writing in calling an entire group of people dirtbags because they enjoy riding motorcycles and the camaraderie that goes along with it. I own a guesthouse in town and we had bikers staying with us and they were perfectly respectful and their
rooms were not destroyed. Bikers are welcome anytime in my book.”

I say, the more festivals that go on here the more opportunity for great people watching. Come down for the next one. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you are sure to be entertained.