Few of you remember the first Speedonthewater.com Party at the now-defunct BurgerFi restaurant in Key West, Fla., six years ago, because few of you were there. That was by design, as speedonthewater.com co-publisher Jason Johnson and I hosted the event to thank 50 or so of our advertisers, particularly supportive friends and family members.
We opened the party to the public at BurgerFi the following year and quickly discovered—the hard way—that we needed a bigger venue with a lot more bartenders. In 2015, we moved the party to the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, a more spacious venue just off Duval Street. We loved that space, but it wasn’t quite right.
After the 2015 event, Greg Harris, a South Florida-based real estate agent and longtime friend approached us about partnering in the next one with Offshoreonly.com. Harris is a veteran moderator for the popular online high-performance community and Johnson and I produce and publish most of its home page editorial content. Working together seemed like a good fit.
But it hasn’t been a good fit—not even close. It’s been a great one.
Harris handles booking the Sandbar Sports Grill on Greene Street, the host venue for the party for the past three years, and collecting offshoreonly.com giveaway schwag. Yvonne Aleman, his longtime girlfriend, deals with Samuel’s House, the event’s Key West-based benefitting charity. Johnson and I tackle sponsorships, gathering auction and raffle items, commemorative event T-shirts—sponsored exclusively for the third time this year by Sterling Performance and produced by Grow Marketing—and promoting the event.
Reprising his 2018 role, a charismatic force-of-nature known as Nolan Ferris will handle the auction this year. (If you haven’t met Ferris, a member of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run organizing committee, you need to.) He’ll be backed up by bid-spotter Todd Campbell, a gregarious South Carolina-based performance-boat enthusiast who owns an incredible 57-foot MTI center console.
Here’s a quick look at what will be on the auction block and in the raffle.
- 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run Experience—$3,000-plus value.
- Boyne Thunder Poker Run Experience—$3,000-plus value.
- Mystic Powerboats Saturday Lunch Run Experience—priceless (whatever it costs to own a Mystic).
- Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Experience—$1,400-plus value.
- Boat Customs 2019 Key West Bash Shot-Ski—priceless (the winning bidder gets to use the shot-ski for the first time with the speedonthewater.com models).
- One mixed case of Peacock Family Vineyard Wine—$1,300 (be wary of a bidding war with Harris as Aleman adores the wine).
- Marine Design Corp. TrimSync system for twin outboards or stern drives—$900 value.
- Custom-designed apparel (bikinis, board shorts, shirts) from TK Customs.
- (2) Commemorative Mercury Racing/Whistle Pig 15-year-old whiskey gift packs with matching Glen Cairn glasses—$250 value each.
- Detroit Popcorn/SV Racing professional-grade popcorn machine with $50 gift certificate and SV Racing shirts and hats—$750 value.
- BBLADES Professional Propellers tuning for two four- or five-blade propellers—$1,400 value.
- STR-Xact Laser Height Kit and F1H20 World Championship Commemorative Program—$250 value.
- (2) Lifeline sport vests—$800 value.
- Bluave Marine audio components.
- MTI gift pack.
- Teague Custom Marine gift pack.
- Bio-Kleen gift pack.
- (2) Performance Boat Center team jerseys.
- Speedonthewater.com windbreaker.
- Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/Speedonthewater.com metal print.
- Bikini Lives Matter/Super Cat Fest gift pack.
Harris, Johnson and I currently are working on a gift package for anyone who buys $40 or more in raffle tickets. With all of the items to get through, the auction and raffle most likely will begin at 8:30 p.m.
As he did last year, Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance Agency is sponsoring the food for the event, and the Sandbar Sports Grill is supplying a limited amount of complimentary drink tickets in addition to drink specials. And as previously reported, Greene Street will be closed to vehicle traffic for the duration of the event, so party-goers will have a lot more room to spread out this year. (Plus, the street closure has created enough space for a special new boat display in front of the venue.)
So get yourselves to the Sandbar Sports Grill on Thursday, grab a cold one, hang out with some old friend and make some new ones—and bid your hearts out. The high-performance boating party of the year is all yours.