Held in conjunction with Darryl Worley’s Tennessee River Run—a fundraising concert for the Darryl Worley Foundation—and hosted by the Pickwick Parrott Heads, the annual Pickwick Poker Run is set for August 18-19 on the popular lake that borders Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.
A memorial honoring Carey Downs and Jeremie Floyd was erected on Pickwick Lake two years ago. Photo by Yvonne Aleman
The poker run, which has been going on for many years but reached new heights in 2013 when local boaters Carey Downs and Jeremie Floyd decided they wanted to help turn the event into an even larger fundraiser for the community, raised more than $100,000 and an incredible amount of awareness for the Darryl Worley Foundation two years later when it was held as a memorial for Downs and Floyd, who died in a boating accident a couple of weeks after the 2014 event.
Since the 2015 event, the run has continued to grow and honor Floyd and Downs, who worked at the well-known Pier 57 Motorsports in Counce, Tenn., with Floyd’s wife, Marsha Moffett-Floyd. Friends of Floyd and Downs are planning to head to the lake again this year as the event, which includes a fun run to River Bottom Grille in Florence, Ala., on Friday and a poker run on Saturday with a raft-up and on-water concert in Dry Creek followed by a party at Freddy T’s that evening.
“Like pretty much everyone from that area, Carey treated me like family at every boating event I saw him at,” said Greg Harris, who is going back to Pickwick for the third time in three years with his 32-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran Mad Props, which he owns with his girlfriend, Yvonne Aleman. “I felt like I lost a family member when Carey died so the best thing we can do is continue to honor him and Jeremie, who was one of his best friends. Once they decided to hold the poker run in their honor, we knew we had to be there. We’ll continue to go back year after year.
“The lake is way nicer and larger than most people realize,” he continued. “The run is not the biggest or the fastest, but the venue is first class and super unique. Plus the concert is really enjoyable and the party at Freddy T’s is as good as it gets.”
According to Marsha Moffett-Fisher, Jeremie’s widow who remarried in February, the first stop of Saturday’s poker run takes place at the 16-foot, 5,000-pound cross that was erected in 2015 in Floyd’s and Downs’ honor at the spot of their accident.
“Obviously the poker run is bittersweet for all of us, but being able to do something in their honor that impacts the community so greatly is what it’s really about,” said Moffett-Fisher, who continues to be blown away by the outpouring of support for Jeremie and Carey. “Last year the run raised $110,000 and in 2015 it raised $112,000—the poker run had never raised more than $10,000 before that. We’re hoping this year will be our biggest year yet and we also want to continue to push being safe on the water.
“I’m most proud of the fact that every penny we raise goes to charity,” she continued. “Between the T-shirts, the bands, the venues and every one else who donates their time and money, the event is done on a completely volunteer basis. Whether you donate $100, $1,000 or $10,000, every dollar goes to the Darryl Worley Foundation. It’s really an amazing cause—Jeremie and Carey would be so proud.”
According to the event schedule, the poker run will start at 10 a.m. and wrap up at 2 p.m. in time for the Darryl Worley and Friends concert, which is expected to conclude at 6 p.m. A party with food, another concert and an auction begins at 5:30 p.m. at Freddy T's Restaurant and Beach Club, with the poker hand winners being announced around 8:45 p.m., just before the concert begins.