All-American Harleys Rule an All-American Road

Events, Hotels, Things to Do — By Julie on August 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Hog riders from around the United States every year blow into South Florida to ride one of America’s most scenic highways to raise money for charity. This year is the 38th annual Key West Poker Run, Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 16-19.

Recently, more than 500 bikers left Key West to the Kenai Peninsula, AK, for a serious iron-butt challenge.  Riding is a way of life in the Keys.

So, grab your leathers, your chaps and your lovely lady to ride ‘bitch’ along with 10,000 bikes along the Overseas Highway  the 113-mile roadway from mainland Florida to Key West that features 42 bridges and long vistas of breathtaking open water. In October 2009, the roadway was named Florida’s only All-American Road, the highest designation,  joining ranks with the famous Route 66 and the like.

Online registration is accepted at or visit one of the Peterson’s Harley dealerships in Miami to register, starting Sept. 1. All it takes is a $10 donation.

Each rider receives a poker sheet and weekend parking pass. Additional “poker hands” are available for $10 apiece. Drivers of cars and trucks also can participate in the run – but, really … why would you do this in a car? Get your butt on an American-made Harley Davidson, or stay on the porch, dogs.

For early arrivals in Key West, a bar stroll is planned on Upper Duval Street Thursday night, Sept. 16, ending in a beach party at the Southernmost Beach Café, 1405 Duval St.

Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17, Poker Run participants are to ride the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West, stopping at designated points to draw cards. The fifth and final stop is Key West’s Conch Republic Seafood Co., 631 Greene St. This is where the party gets really crazy!

Entrants who draw the 10 best poker hands are eligible to play in a winner-take-all round of Texas Hold ‘Em, competing for a new Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster custom motorcycle. For this event, you want to make it to Guy Harvey’s Island Grill, 511 Greene St., at 11 p.m. Saturday.  Be there, or be square.

The lower part of Key West’s famed Duval Street is to be closed to car traffic during much of the Poker Run so bikers with weekend parking passes can park on the street to display their bikes.

Saturday, Sept. 18, Big Bike Riders Association representatives are to judge the annual custom bike show with proceeds earmarked for charity. Events take place in front of Rick’s/Durty Harry’s, 208 Duval St., with trophies awarded in multiple classes. Registration costs $25 per bike.

Bike aficionados also can find merchandise including motorcycle accessories and apparel at the Poker Run Vendor Village on Greene Street just off Duval.  You ladies know you need a too-tight tank top for yourself. Your man will thank you for it!

Sloppy Joe’s, 201 Duval St., hosts its annual “Biker Bash” from noon until 11 p.m. Saturday, with contests including a wacky “Bikers on Tricycles” challenge.

Poker Run attendees can chill out from noon to 4 p.m. at a pool party at the Southernmost Hotel, 1319 Duval St., with music and giveaways. The annual Paradise Tattoo Contest and bikini show are planned Saturday at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.

Sunday events include a morning blessing of the bikes, followed by a Bloody Mary brunch and beach party at the Southernmost Beach Café.

For a full schedule, visit

Tags: florida keys events, Harley Davidson, Harleys, Key West, motorcycles, Overseas Highway, Peterson's, poker run, ride for charity, September Keys events