Written by Michael Lee Lockwood

When you think of locations for poker runs, Wyoming is not usually one of the States that comes to mind.  However, one weekend out of the year, the Casper Boat Club hosts an annual charity poker run on Alcova Lake, about 40 miles southwest of Casper.  Funds raised from this event help support an organization known as the Jason’s Friends Foundation.   The creation of the Jason’s Friends Foundation was inspired by the life of Jason William Eades. Jason was eight years old when he was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor.  He passed away on November 11, 1995 at the young age of 9 years old.  Jason always showed more concern for others and taught others how to overcome any obstacle with strength and courage.  This Foundation is an exceptional cause that provides help to the families in Wyoming who have children suffering from brain or spinal cord tumors and childhood cancer.

During the GLOC Shootout a few weeks ago, Win Farnsworth mentioned this event to me.  A few days later, we spoke again and he invited me up to Wyoming for the weekend to help support the event.  I gladly accepted the invitation and started making travel arrangements.  That’s when I realized… there is not very much in Wyoming!  Lots of land, lots of open space… but nothing along the lines of hotel accommodations near Alcova Lake.  Win graciously offered me a room at his lake house, and even offered to pick me up from the Denver airport when my flight arrived.

So, this is where you’re probably wondering… wait… Team Farnsworth is letting a member of Team GONE AGAIN stay at his family’s lake home!?!?!  Well, that’s exactly what happened.  In fact, Win and Christopher Kissinger also allowed me full access to the 50’ Mystic Turbine boat “Low Altitude” to gather intel related to electronics and communications equipment in her.  The information collected will be used in the new 368 Skater “GONE…” that is currently being rigged and outfitted with components at TNT Marine in Miami, FL.

But, let’s get back to the charity event.  Team Farnsworth had their 41’ M41 Widebody DCB on the water offering rides to anyone that donated to Jason’s Friends.  It was estimated that more than 35 rides were given, to approximately 120 people over 3 days.  On Saturday morning, the poker run started.  We used another one of Win’s boats, “Old Blue” as he refers to her (a mid 1990’s Bayliner cruiser with twin 454’s) to do the run.  This was a poker run like no other I have participated in.  First off, idle speeds were maintained during the entire run. This was mainly in part due to the fact that most of the boats on the lake were 1, a sailboat, 2, a cabin cruiser, or 3, looked like what I can only describe as a 1960’s travel trailer on the water.  Nonetheless, even with the lack of high speed between stops, everyone had a great time.  A raft up on the lake’s beach boasted more than 80 boats, and a lunch buffet was served to all participants.  The water in the lake is crystal clear and is surrounded by beautiful rock cliffs and canyons.

Later in the evening, a live auction, dinner that included prime rib, and the card drawing were held at the Boat Club.  By the end of the night, the event had raised $70,000 for the Foundation.  I was honored to be on hand to make a donation on behalf of Team GONE AGAIN to such a fantastic cause.

Aside from the constant grief I received for wearing GONE AGAIN orange, and joking about my Texas accent (that I still deny I have… y’all), the folks of the Alcova community are a great group of people and I made many new friends. Truthfully, at no point did I ever feel unwelcome or out of place.  In fact, I was invited back next year under one condition… the new 368 Skater and the rest of my family and Team GONE come with me.  There may have even been discussions of a new shootout possibly being planned, but that’s a story for another time.

I would like to again thank Win and Melissa and the entire Farnsworth family for their hospitality, as well as all of the other great people I met over the weekend.   If you ever have the chance to make it out to the Casper Boat Club when the Jason’s Friends Poker Run event is being held, I highly recommend you participate and join in the fun!