Each year, on the second Saturday in July, a powerboat club based in Richmond participates in a “poker run”, known as “Jammin’ on the James”, down the James River to Portsmouth. One of their stops is for lunch at a waterfront restaurant in Smithfield, not far from where we live.
The boats leave Richmond early in the morning, head down the James, then follow the Pagan River into Smithfield. The Pagan is the only waterway into the town, and is also the river by our house. So we decided a few years ago that this poker run was reason enough for a party.
We pitch a tent and invite family, friends and neighbors.
This year, the weather was perfect. The temps were warm, but there was a nice breeze.
Of course, there was food. Everyone brings a dish or two, so there’s always a variety.
The boats are loud, fast, colorful and not inexpensive. Motor Man estimates some of them could be in the $500,000 range. That’s for one boat.
There are usually around 100 boats taking part in the poker run, but we haven’t heard an exact number for this year yet. And we were all too busy eating and visiting to actually count them.
As the boats made their return trip by our house, Groom Swan was Jammin’ on the Pagan. And waiting for someone to throw out some bread.
A helicopter follows the boats on the poker run and takes photos. He was definitely part of our entertainment.
And we had a surprise visitor during our cookout. A deer bolted between our tent and the river. I’m not sure who was the most shocked: the deer or us.
So, to recap, there were go-fast boats, a helicopter, a swan….and a deer. Never let it be said that we throw a dull party.