Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac gearing up for third annual Paddling Poker Run
DOWAGIAC — A local organization is offering community members a scenic ride down the Dowagiac River and the opportunity to win some prizes.
The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac is gearing up to host its third annual Paddling Poker Run. The event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 17 at Doe-Wah-Jack’s Canoe Rental, 52963 M-51 N., Dowagiac, and end at Indian Lake Pub, 55986 Indian Lake Road, Dowagiac.
Sign-ups will take place from 11 a.m. to noon and launch between noon and 1 p.m.
Poker run attendees will receive their playing cards at the launch, at three different points along the river and at Indian Lake Pub after they dock. The attendee with the best hand will receive a prize, and additional prizes will be handed out.
Tickets can be purchased at ypdowagiac.wixsite.com. The cost of tickets will increase by $5 the day of the event, so the YPGD encourages those interested in attending to purchase tickets in advance. The presale cost of renting a tandem canoe will be $60 and a single canoe will cost $40. Attendees can bring their own canoes for $20 and tandem canoes $40.
After more than three years of raising funds, The Young Professionals met its goal for the $40,000 Russom Park pavilion project this spring. YPGD member and Doe-Wah-Jacks Canoe Rental Owner Neil Keller said that proceeds from this year’s poker run will go toward the organization’s next project, which has not been decided yet.
“We have a few different project ideas on the table,” Keller said.
Last year’s event raised $600. The organization has several fundraising events throughout the year, including its annual Daddy/Daughter Dance and Mother/Son events and its fireworks show.
Keller hopes that hosting the poker run in July with warmer weather will attract a larger attendance.
“We expect it to be up,” he said. “We’re doing it earlier in the year so hopefully the July date will bring more people out. More people are interested in going out after everything that has happened.”
Keller hopes people will come out and enjoy a scenic trip down the river.
“We just want to bring everyone together and showcase the Dowagiac River,” he said. “It’s spring-fed with a temperature of about 65 degrees. We get a lot of local people who have driven by for 40 years, rent kayaks and tell us how beautiful the river is. Raising money for community efforts is our goal on top of that.”
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