While plans continue for an east-side casino, an inaugural fly-in poker event hopes to attract more aircraft to Terre Haute Regional Airport.

Airport Director Jeff Hauser said the concept is similar to poker run rally events held through car and motorcycle clubs nationwide.

“There are six airports and contestants will land in five of those,” all ending at the Terre Haute airport. “It will help get people flying around the airports in Indiana, but also bring in as many people as we to see [at Terre Haute Regional Airport] and for gas. Once you get here, people tend to fly back once they have been to a place once.”

Participants pay $25 for an envelope. The participant then flies to other airports, each time getting a new envelope until they have five envelopes. The pilots then gather at Terre Haute Regional Airport and the sealed envelops are opened. The person with the best poker hand wins prizes, from first place to third place.

Prizes include items such as a device that provides pilots with free in-flight weather, air traffic and GPS position; an aviation headset; and an Apple iPad.

Additionally, the airport, in conjunction with Hoosier Aviation, will provide food and music for the event slated for April 16 and 17, Hauser told the airport’s board of directors Wednesday.

“The reason we are doing this in two days, with French Lick on there and other airports, someone may want to spend a night at one of the airports. We are doing a north route and a south route for pilots, and they can choose. It is just a fun time, almost like a little fair,” Hauser said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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