With online registration closing in just a few weeks, the immediacy of the eighth annual Texas Outlaw Challenge (June 17-21) is starting to sink in for event founder and lead organizer Paul Robinson. Of course that means getting Robinson, who works for NASA, on the phone is no easy task.
The Texas Outlaw Challenge poker run officially starts on Friday afternoon with a huge pool party at MTI owner Kenny Armstrong’s home.
So when Robinson called back just before the busy Memorial Day weekend, I made sure to answer and ask how things were coming along. I checked in with him a couple of months ago and he walked me through why next month’s event could be the biggest Texas Outlaw Challenge yet (read Texas Outlaw Challenge Shooting for Record Year).
“Here’s an update for you, we’re growing the event to five days now,” Robinson said. “We decided to add a Texas Outlaw VIP Pre-Party all day Wednesday at Sam’s Boat at Endeavour Marina. It’s for our amazing group of volunteers and the people who arrive early—the road warriors who bring all of the heavy iron in for the owners. It’s our way of thanking all of them.
“We’re also adding a ‘Test & Tune Fun Run’ that includes lunch and a pool party at the Galveston Yacht Club from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” he continued. “We feel like this is a good way for participants to get out and test their boats and make sure everything is running well.”
This year, the Kemah Boardwalk will feature three nights of street parties with boats, cars and more on display.
Robinson said Thursday’s fun run also should give out-of-town visitors a chance to familiarize themselves with the waterways, although he added that for several years local participants have flown Texas flags so anyone with questions or issues on the water can find someone with the Lone Star State flag and be in good hands.
Still, despite all the on-water fun, Robinson seems most excited about the Thursday, Friday and Saturday night street parties at the Kemah Boardwalk, which includes boats, cars and more on display as well as three nights of fundraising through a Quick Draw Challenge where takers use real guns, holsters and wax-tip bullets and try to outduel Bob Graham, a four-time fast draw world champion.
“The city of Kemah has given us even more space to display the boats and invite some of the local car clubs,” Robinson said. “We have the Stampede Welcome Party on Thursday night, a Super Car Challenge on Friday with 100-plus Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other exotics cars from Houston clubs, and Saturday’s Corvette Challenge, which precedes the poker run and shootout awards.”
Speaking of the Outlaw Shootout, Robinson has higher hopes for the top-speed event this year, as it’s not necessarily something to pass the time before everyone heads to Kenny Armstrong’s house for a pool party from noon to 4 p.m., followed by dinner at the Top Water Grill.
Vern Gilbert and Gary Smith are expected to bring the Predator Skater back to Texas to defend its Outlaw Shootout title.
“I’ve heard from Win Farnsworth that he’s bringing his Low Altitude Mystic that recently won the Desert Storm Poker Run Shootout,” Robinson said. “I also know that Vern Gilbert and Gary Smith are bringing the Predator Skater back to defend their title. We should have some new participants, too. In fact, we’re increasing our safety team with the expectations of having a 200-mph boat on the course.”
Of course the poker run fun takes place on Saturday with eight stops in and around Clear Lake and Galveston Bay, followed by the party at Kemah Boardwalk. Robinson said this year organizers have arranged for water taxis to take participants across the lake to various activities taking place throughout the extended weekend.
“On Sunday we have the Steel Horse Bike Show and the Wounded Knee raft-up and pool party at Allen’s Channel Ranch—the pool party is for anyone still left standing,” Robinson said with a laugh. “Of course I have to thank all of the volunteers and the sponsors, they’re the ones who make all of this possible.”
To check out the full schedule of events from the Texas Outlaw Challenge, click here.
Written by Jason Johnson