Key West Poker Run expected to draw more than 10,000 bikers

Popular trek features unique route down 113-mile highway that connects the Keys

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KEY WEST, Fla. - Motorcyclists from throughout America are traveling the Florida Keys Overseas Highway from mainland Florida to Key West this weekend, raising money for charity during the 41st annual Key West Poker Run.

Traditionally drawing riders on up to 10,000 bikes, organizers of the event said the popular trek features a unique route down the 113-mile highway that connects the Keys.

An All-American Highway, the road incorporates 42 bridges spanning the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico.

Organizers said participating bikers draw poker cards at designated stops along the route through the island chain. Entrants who draw the 10 best hands are eligible to play in a winner-take-all round of Texas Hold 'Em late Saturday night, competing for a new Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle or $6,000 in cash.

A section of Key West's lower Duval Street and Greene Street is closed to car traffic during much of the Poker Run so officials said bikers can park on the street to display their bikes.

Other attractions include a bike merchandise market, "Biker Bash" street party, custom bike show and parties at Key West resorts and watering holes.

The Poker Run is a fundraiser for the Diabetes Research Institute and charities of the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club. Organizers said events conclude Sunday.

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