1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run Going Bigger

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After a “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” kind of travel day last Sunday that included an hour-and-a-half, early morning drive to Milwaukee followed by a miserable hour-and-a-half bus ride to Chicago—weather scrubbed my short flight between the two cities—followed by an hour-and-a-half delayed, four-plus-hour flight to San Francisco, I didn’t expect to be eager to hit the road again anytime soon. That it all followed on the heels of an incredibly emotional weekend covering the Four Horsemen Poker Run didn’t help.

In its second year, the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run has grown by more than 40 percent. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

But damn if—after calling organizer Jeff Morgan yesterday—I’m not excited to get to the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run July 21 in Clayton, N.Y. (OK, I confess, the added benefit is that my gal and I will get to spend a few days before the run with my daughter and her boyfriend in New York City.) Morgan’s enthusiasm for the event, which has 122 registered boats—up from 73 boats in its first year—with a waiting list, is contagious.

“I just secured a second helicopter, so in addition to having Tim Sharkey shoot still images we’ll have Todd Taylor from Speedboat magazine shooting video,” said Morgan.

As previously reported, Fountain Powerboats of Iconic Marine Group is supporting the event, not just by bringing at least two new models but by sending the man himself, Reggie Fountain, Jr. According to Morgan, the host hotel will be sprucing up its landscaping in the weeks prior to the event so the venue will “sparkle like a diamond,” and the entire town of Clayton is thrilled to have the poker runners return. And the high-water issues that made for course challenges and restrictions last year are not a factor this year, he added.

What accounts for the event’s relatively instant success?

“It’s the venue, for sure,” said Morgan. “And the people. Last year especially, it was all about having the right people there. There was no drama. There were no cliques. Whether you had a million-dollar boat or a $30,000 boat didn’t matter—everyone was treated equally. And we generally think we have the best water in the world.”

“So Ken Lalonde, the other organizers and I reached deeper into our Rolodexes this year to see who was out there,” he continued. “If you surround yourself with good people, they bring in other good people and it grows from there. And we could not have done it without the support and promotion of speedonthewater.com. Your respect and reputation in the industry is unmatched.”

For the record, we had committed to covering the event long before Morgan and I spoke yesterday. But I’d be lying if I said my speedonthewater.com co-publisher Jason Johnson and I weren’t flattered.

So despite being just two days removed from the travel day from hell— and I can’t believe what I’m about to write—I’ll be thrilled to get back on the road.

But I do hope the return trip doesn’t involve a bus ride.

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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.

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