April 13, 2005
Spring Harbor Hop Marks Start of Boating Season
at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks
LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO. -- Signs of spring at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks include redbuds in bloom, birds building nests, kids flying kites … and the 8th annual Spring Harbor Hop.
The Harbor Hop, set for Saturday, April 30, from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., is the unofficial kick-off for the Lake boating season. This "poker run" event attracts between 2,000 and 2,500 participants who cruise among 47 checkpoints -- lakeside restaurants, bars and marinas along the Lake's main channel and its Big Niangua and Gravois arms -- to build their best possible poker hand.
"Hoppers" can start their run at any of the sponsors' checkpoints where they pay an optional $10 donation per seven-card hand and draw their first card. Six additional cards are drawn as boaters "hop" to more checkpoints. Players turn in their hand where they draw seventh and final card. There's no limit to the number of hands an individual may play.
Players with a winning poker hand will be notified by mail. Players not holding a winning hand will be eligible for a random drawing and four section winners also will be recognized. Prize amounts are based on money raised from entry donations and are paid in the form of gift certificates redeemable at Harbor Hop sponsors. A portion of the money raised will remain with the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau for administering the program. Many dealers donate their time on behalf of a charitable organization, which means moneys are filtered back to the local community to support philanthropic causes.
"The Spring Harbor Hop brings people to the Lake at the beginning of the season and encourages them to visit again throughout the spring, summer and fall," says Joel Pottinger, executive director, Lake of the Ozarks Convention &
The Spring Harbor Hop was inspired by the equally popular Fall Harbor Hop, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Both events are sponsored by the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, the Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association and lakeside restaurants. This year's one-day Spring Harbor Hop is a departure from past events, which were held over the course of two days.
While fun is guaranteed, good weather is not. "Mother Nature holds the trump card," says Marilyn Hartman, membership coordinator for the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau. "But true Hoppers hop, rain or shine."
For more information about the Harbor Hop or other events, attractions, lodging and dining at Central Missouri's scenic Lake of the Ozarks, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau's website at www.funlake.com or