Where the hell did June go? The first day in July is this coming Saturday. That’s kind of hard to believe given all that happened in the go-fast boating world last weekend in various parts of the country. I’m just four days into a 17-day road trip that started with last weekend’s Erie Poker Run in Pennsylvania and will finish with the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Michigan. Between those two events, I have customers to visit, more boating to do with friends and Chicago-based family to bother—you know the drill.
It’s a blur, for sure, but a pleasant one.
Whether you love or hate the bounty of go-fast boating events each summer weekend—and there are folks in both camps—you have to at least appreciate the diversity of experiences they provide. There’s something for everyone every weekend, particularly if you’re willing to haul your boat around the country.
For example, if you wanted the chance to run your boat as fast as it can go in three-quarters of a mile last weekend you could have headed to the Texas Outlaw Challenge in Seabrook. That’s what Vern Gilbert did, where a 158-mph run in his 40-foot Skater catamaran called Predator earned him first place in the noted top-speed shootout.
Let’s say you wanted a rough-water poker run. This weekend’s Elite Poker Runs LLC event would have been your ticket. Trust me, I was there and thanks to Mark and Karen Tindale I got to experience frothy and nasty, three- to five-foot—mostly on the five-foot side with gaping holes in the water—Lake Erie in their Outerlimits SL 44 sportboat. And those conditions were the best in the event’s three-year history. Organizer Anthony Scioli is thinking about marketing his future events on the lake as “offshore” poker runs, and I certainly wouldn’t argue with him.
If you were looking for a great event to benefit a great a cause, the Lake Murray Poker Run for Children’s Chance in South Carolina would have nicely filled the bill. (To be fair, every event in this article had a worthy charitable component.) Although the final totals aren’t in, the bikini contest alone reportedly raised more than $4,000 for the pediatric cancer charity. Without leaving the state, you also could have been part of the Hartwell Lake Poker Run, which benefited the Meals On Wheels-Anderson charity, last weekend.
Or you could have headed to the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri for the Support Our Troops Poker Run sponsored by Sunsation Boats and Poly Lift Boat Lifts, which celebrated its tenth anniversary benefiting the H.E.R.O.E.S. Care program. That event raised approximately $25,000 for the charity, according to Brett Manire of Performance Boat Center.
You get the picture. There truly was something for everyone last weekend, just as there will be every weekend this summer. Love it or hate it—and even as someone charged with the task of trying to cover it all I fall into the “love it’ camp—that’s just the way it is. Blink again and it will be August.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.