Busy August for Poker Run America

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Canadian performance boater Bill Tomlinson brought My Way, his 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran, to the Sault Ste. Marie Can-Am Poker Run. Photo courtesy Tim Kuyzk

Following the second annual Sault Ste. Marie Can-Am Poker Run a little more than a week ago, the crew at Poker Runs America is busy preparing for its ever-popular 1000 Islands Poker Run coming up this week in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Then the next week, the crew is going to be in North East, Md., for the 15th annual Rock the Bay Poker Run. That’s a lot to accomplish over a few weeks’ time, but given the momentum from its 36-boat fleet at the Sault Ste. Marie event, which included boats from as far away as California, the Poker Runs America team is looking forward to a fun couple of weeks. It’s also hoping for more beautiful days like the one for Saturday’s Sault Ste. Marie Can-Am Poker Run over the next two weekends.

According to Poker Runs America’s Travis Kingdon, the Sault Ste. Marie run was well received by both the participants and the spectators as an even larger crowd gathered around the Roberta Bondar Park to watch the boats take off at the beginning of the poker run.

The crowd at Roberta Bondar Park checked out the boats leaving at the start of the poker run. Photos courtesy Poker Runs America

Kingdon pointed out that a good portion of the participants were from Michigan, which helped bolster the tourism business in Sault Ste. Marie. Kingdon also said that many of last year’s participants returned this year, including California performance boater Lawrence Coelho, who brought his 28-foot DCB V-bottom Rapid Rabbit to the event.

“Everyone in the community was excited to see the boats,” Kingdon said. “This year we brought some big power to Sault Ste. Marie, including Bill Tomlinson’s 50-foot Mystic My Way, Stephane Paquin’s Nor-Tech 5200 Need for Speed, Pat Higgins’ 43-foot Outerlimits V-bottom Go Fast and more. Some of the bigger boats parked in the Station Mall Parking lot on Thursday and Friday, and there were always people milling around the boats and asking questions. On a whole, the community loved seeing the boats and it’s something the people who live in Northern Ontario don’t get to see often.”

Kingdon added that the dinner on Saturday was at the Bush Plane museum, which was a crowd favorite just like last year. First place in the poker run went to Tomlinson, who came up with triple 7s and a pair of queens. Coelho came in second and Tom Maczik, who owns a 36-foot Sunsation, came in third.

First-place winner Bill Tomlinson and his crew accept their award along with Bill Taylor of Poker Runs America and representatives from Sandbanks Winery. Photo courtesy Poker Runs America

In terms of other awards, the power was given to the people, allowing them to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice Awards. The Best Graphics award went to Russell Kidder and his Formula Boats 353 Formula Boats FAS3Tech Child Support, while the Best Engine and Best Rig awards went to Tomlinson’s My Way. The Best Dressed Crew was awarded to Bill and Monica Reiffer in their Checkmate Powerboats 43 Punisher V-bottom and Kidder’s Child Support claimed the Best Audio award.

The event also included a day of charity rides on Sunday, which supported the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Sault Ste. Marie. Kingdon gave a special thanks to the poker runners who stuck around on Sunday and offered their time for a great cause.

There’s not much doubt that the Poker Runs America team is going to return to Sault Ste. Marie next year, but for now it’s time to look ahead to the next two weeks and work on providing the best event experience possible in Kingston and North East. It’s also not too late to sign up for the 1000 Islands Poker Run or the Rock the Bay Poker Run.

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Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.

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