PWC Aqua Challenge set to make its return June 10

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Last summer, a new, unique, event made its debut in Cape Coral.

Called the See-Doo Challenge, jet skiers took to the waters of the waters of the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico traveling from place to place collecting poker cards participating in a what can best be described as a nautical twist on the familiar motorcycle poker run concept.

The idea proved to be a success as over 60 participants on nearly 50 jet skis participated in the inaugural event.

Building on that initial success, the event is making its return June 10, and according to organizers event bigger and better than its initial run, "Last year was amazing. It far exceeded any of our expectations, and we learned a lot. That success motivated us to make it an annual event and continue to tweak it to improve the experience for those who participate," says event founder/organizer and Cape Coral resident Paul Csotty.

Csotty says one of those improvements is broadening the types of participants, "This year, we are encouraging boaters to bring out their boats and join in on the fun."

To better portray that growth, Csotty has renamed the event, the PWC Aqua Challenge, to encompass all different types of water crafts, "We didn’t want to leave anyone out who wants to get involved. The overall tone of the event will continue to be geared toward jet ski community but, we wanted to open it up."

While the type of participants has broadened, the core concept of the event will remain as it was last year. Jet skiers and boaters will leave from the Yacht Club Beach, head up the Caloosahatchee and into the Gulf of Mexico stopping at such establishments as Jaspers Bait Shop, the Floating Dock, Bowditch Park, and the Sanibel Lighthouse before returning to the Yacht Club for lunch at The Boathouse.

It is also there that the winners of the poker run will be announced and have their choices of a number of different prizes. Among the prizes for this year's event include; a Garmin Action Camera, a $500 gift card from Florida Motorsports, a $250 gift card from Rapid Up Hydro Graphics, and a one-year Sea Tow membership.

In addition to the poker run, there will also be a number of vendors set up at the event for those racing and not racing to peruse, "We have a lot of different vendors this year," says Csotty. "We have vendors from both here locally and out of the area that will give attendees an opportunity to see who is out there in the industry. From products, services, clothing, and everything in between, it will be at this year's event."

Money raised from the Aqua Challenge will once again go to Midwest Food Bank, a non-profit organization whose mission is to feed the hungry both here locally and around the world. Organizers are also asking all those who participate or attend the event to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Midwest Food Bank.

In late 2014, the organization opened a 13,000 square foot air-conditioned warehouse in Fort Myers. Today, the warehouse is responsible for providing food to over 80,000 people in Southwest Florida through donations to over 90 local organizations.

Working for the Midwest Food Bank as its Director of Community Relations, Csotty created the Aqua Challenge as a way to raise both food and money for the organization's cause. Last year, the event raised over $14,000 and 300 pounds of food for the Midwest Food Bank.

Recently, Csotty left the organization to take a position in the "for profit" world but, his passion for both the cause of feeding the hungry and the event itself remained, "This is something our community had not experienced until last year. It is something that not only benefits those in our community who are in need but, benefits everyone by providing a day of fun and entertainment that is a different experience than most of the events you see held in Cape Coral. It is just a great reason to spend the day on the water."

The PWC Aqua Challenge will take place Saturday, June 10 at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, located at 5819 Driftwood Parkway. Registration begins at 8:00am with the poker run set to take off at 9:00am from the Yacht Club Beac. The cost to participate is $25 per rider. To register for the event, visit PWCAquaChallenge.eventbrite.com.

For more information on the 2017 PWC Aqua Challenge, click here.