The man responsible for the strip poker advertisements students have seen all week spoke to the USF chapter of the Public Relations Student Society on Thursday.
Pete Williams, marketing and media consultant for the clothing-optional Paradise Lakes resort in Land O’ Lakes, promoted what he called a pretty fun place to hang out at with a shorter drive than Ybor City.
It was while covering spring training in Tampa for USA Today that Williams discovered Paradise Lakes, and he began staying there during his visits to the area.
Williams is working on an image overhaul of Paradise Lakes, as well as the clothing-optional resort industry in general. According to Williams, clothing-optional resorts are the fastest-growing segment of tourism and recreation, and for various reasons.
“You will get hundreds of different answers for why people enjoy them,” Williams said. “But most will say it’s the sense of freedom that they receive, and the sense of community.”This sense of community is regulated by a long list of rules and regulations.
“There are definite taboos,” Williams said, “and overt sexual activity is grounds for immediate dismissal. We want everyone to be comfortable.”
Keeping it comfortable, especially for female visitors, is one of the reasons that entry is restricted to couples and females only, including tonight’s Bulls in the Buff poker event.
Williams said that the rule is in place for various reasons and is standard at nude and semi-nude institutions. He drew references from the club experience of places such as Ybor City and nude beaches that when an environment is mostly full of single men, it is difficult for women to fully enjoy their experience. He also said that photography is strictly prohibited on the grounds, and many people cannot use their cell phones while there for this reason.
Bulls in the Buff, with advertising around campus that garnered local media attention, will be free to students and includes a barbecue, a strip poker tournament and poolside rooms costing $40 for the night for those who wish to extend their stays.
Brandon Dal, a physical education sophomore, attended the lecture in hopes of learning more but left a little frustrated.
“I think it’s a little sexist that guys can’t go in groups (to Paradise Lakes), but girls can,” he said. “Me and all my buddies would go check it out if we were allowed.”
Williams is a freelance writer for Sports Weekly, a fitness book writer and host of a fitness radio show on the Tan Talk radio network and is a former weekend sports anchor for Bay News 9. He is also a former adjunct professor of a Mass Communications course at USF.