EAA Chapter 724 Celebrates 40th Anniversary

By Bobbi Lasher, EAA Chapter 724 Secretary; Photos courtesy of Roger Scruggs

EAA Chapter 724 in Merritt Island, Florida, is 40 years old! We celebrated with a poker run to four other airports with the terminus being at Merritt Island Airport. The big day was October 30, 2021. 

Our computer guru, Don White, set up an online preregistration system, which worked quite well. This program allowed pilots as well as passengers to sign up in advance and use PayPal for the fee and not need to worry about having correct cash in pocket. It also kept the “dealers” at each airport from having to have a bank on hand to make change, and we knew how many people to expect. On the eve of the poker run, each “dealer” was sent a list of all who had registered, their payment, and tail number of the airplane they were in. Thus, the dealer at the first airport knew if they had to collect money from any last-minute participants. That program, eSignup.org, is available to everyone. 

The early-morning sky was very cloudy and really did not improve until about noon. That didn’t stop the pilots and their passengers. A couple of them had to wait out the clouds along the way, but all had a good time. The clouds kept a couple of airplanes from getting to all the airports, but they filled out their hands at the terminus, where the weather stayed flyable, but not great, all morning.  

After arriving back at Merritt Island Airport, the poker players, passengers, volunteers, and many others gathered for a cookout of peanut butter chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and all the fixings for a great lunch and get-together. Lunch was included in the price of each poker hand, all others were asked to make a donation. Now that the flying was finished, the sky cleared and became our fabulous Florida weather. 

During lunch, the winning poker hand was announced, a full house (3 kings over 2 eights). Jim Gramke had the winning hand and collected half of the money collected from the cost of the poker hands. Also, one hand had a 7, 2, and 4 card (our chapter number) and won $40 in celebration of our 40th anniversary.

All profits from the day will go into our youth education fund to be used for things like a summer camp for local kids to learn many aspects of aviation.

Our next poker run will be held in February. Everyone is invited to join the fun. Just log onto eSignup.org in February to register.

It was a great day and we’re all looking forward to the next 40 years.

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