Chopper City War Horse

American biker lore speaks of the four-corners run, a rumbling pilgrimage to the farthest corners of the United States. One of the must-ride destinations — Monroe County — is at the bottom of the map. For 36 years, Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run has given riders a reason to throw a leg over their hog and steer their bug-catcher (that means beard) south. A rally that began with 46 bikers now attracts up to 15,000 partygoers from all over the world. Duval Street gets blocked off and a heavy-metal Mardi Gras takes over.

It’s called a poker run because, for $10 a hand, you can draw a card at each of five destinations between Miami and Key West. The top 10 hands enter a round of Texas hold ’em for a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster Custom. Profits go to charities including the Diabetes Research Institute (more than $100,000 was donated last year). Every biker worth his leather will be there, from the outlaws to the 99-percenters. But even weekend warriors and scooter-riders and — shudder — truck drivers are welcome, so head on over. Expect raffles, contests, bikini girls, custom bike shows, and plenty of booze.
Thu., Sept. 18, 2008

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