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Pirates of Lanier Family Poker Run

Old 07-25-2017, 11:49 AM
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Last year was our first year at this poker run, overall...we had a good time last year, I thought the lake was kind of choppy on Fri/Sat but not terrible. The events seemed pretty well planned out, not a lot of confusion. This year, we went up a week early, the lake was gorgeous all week long until Saturday. Even Friday wasn't too bad, able to cruise the lake 60+ mph, but Saturday was a nightmare out there. I've never been in 4-5' chop as bad as it was. We live in Miami and deal with ocean size yachts all the time, but usually the captains of those yachts aren't running 10-20mph plowing 5' wakes at everyone, they idle until they're offshore. Half the poker run boats were 40ft+ cabin cruisers.

We chose this poker run because it was on a freshwater lake, it was for a good cause and we could have some fun with our boat and friends, but Saturday was not fun at all for us, except when we were back at our house swimming up a quiet cove on the north end of the lake. I already told the wife, we won't be back next year unless they close the course off for the powerboats to run without the mega yachts at the same time. I'm all for everyone taking part in the charity event, but maybe a split in start times would make it more enjoyable for the powerboaters. My $0.02
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:20 PM
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Interesting. 2 for 2 that it was a mini "LOTO" for the PR.

You wouldn't trailer a cruiser in for the PR so I wonder if its just normally that rough on the weekends.
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:51 PM
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Lanier is our home lake and due to us coming back from vacation late Friday night we didn't actually do the poker run on sat but did throw the fountain in and run around, see who was all out, etc. This lake can get rough on normal weekends especially holiday weekends but the water on sat was just nasty and rough. I think the thought of this new format to be more of a "family" run also brought out a whole new class of dip****s as well! I saw 2 rental pontoons that were doing the run which in most cases, someone renting a pontoon for the day doesn't have a clue on what the rules of the water are or how to handle an underpowered pontoon in calm conditions let alone rough water like it was. In my opinion this brought a new level of danger to the mix.
What most people seem to forget that in years past, al the big boys that came into town not only brought great money for the cause but also when all us go fast guys would start from the dam, everyone else for the most part cleared the way and wants to watch all the fast boats go ripping by. This also meant that most of the go fasts stayed together in groups even after the initial run to Gainesville marina. This year was nothing but chaos and one would go this way, one went that way, etc.
I personally think the format from years past was a lot better and a whole lot safer in general.
Unfortunately, there are also some people that live on this lake and hate the poker run altogether and seem to go out of their way just to try and disrupt it which not only puts them in danger but also us guys in the fast boats even if we are limited to 60mph.
Prime example was the guy who decided that pulling his kids in the main channel at noon just north past browns bridge and around the point there to head to Gainesville marina. or the guy and his girlfriend in the little peddle sail boat that was hanging out right in the narrow channel in front of port royal. the list of people that were super stupid could go on and on from what we saw in just a few short hours being out there.
I don't claim to be perfect by any means and make mistakes as well from time to time and do poker runs with my wife and son but if this is the way this one will be run from here on out, I will opt out of it, save my money and travel to a different lake for a different PR.
Im honestly actually surprised that there were no accidents this time around with how chaotic it was.
What will really be the interesting and sad part at the same time is to see what kind of money was actually raised for the charities this year! Sorry but without guys like John Woodruff and windship and all the rest of the big boys that came to support and raise money for the charities in years past, I highly doubt all the local guys in the big cruisers, pontoons, skiboats, etc. that did the run are going to step up to the plate and donate like the big go fast guys do.
Just my.02 for what its worth!
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:28 AM
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Wow! Sorry to hear all this.

Ive done this event the last 3 years prior, but skipped this year. There have always been a fair number of cruisers in attendance. Are you guys saying that for some reason, the changes brought out more? I feel for the committee that ran it this year as they had to pick up the pieces after last years tragedy. To hear these problems due to cruisers must be frustrating, as I see no easy solution to that without seriously reducing the number of attendees. Even then, one cannot stop non participants form being on the lake at the same time.

I will tell you that what you describe is common at pretty much all poker runs I've attended to a certain degree. These are not easy things to solve. You can't fix stupid..
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:59 AM
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From my limited experience with the lake, I would say that weekends in general are pretty rough just due to the large amount of traffic. Last year on Saturday was choppy, but nothing like this year. I would agree that there are a lot of cruisers that have always done this run, but it seemed significantly more this year. I would also agree that most of the cruisers live on the lake (not trailered in), but I think the difference is that instead of those guys driving out and anchoring or beaching in a cove all day, they're driving all over the lake to the card stops which is why it was so rough.

I'll echo, no easy solution to that problem. Unless they market it towards HP boats and they seem to want to get away from that.
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:18 AM
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I would suggest start times for different classes of boats. The smaller the boats, the earlier they run. That way the cruisers aren't running the same time the hi-perf boats are and everyone can still take part and enjoy their time.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:40 AM
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Yes there are always a good number of cruisers on this run every year. Hell, the last 2 years I had to use ours due to motor issues in our Fountain. I think there were just quite a bit more this year due to the changes. When you look back at years past, 3-5 weeks before the run there was always close to 150 or so go fast boats signed up and slips at sunset were all sold out already. This year, I don't know what the numbers of go fast vs cruisers and other boats was but the table definitely turned the opposite way. I read somewhere that a couple days before the run, sunset still had a bunch of slips available and released them to the public again.
Another thing us locals noticed this year was lack of advertisement. Years past, there were a bunch of radio adds and Bill boards even down by Atlanta with the dates, etc. and there was none of that this year that I saw or heard anyway.
I hope they can turn this thing around again for next year and get it back to the way it was in a lot of ways which will hopefully bring back all the big guys as well. I don't have a problem with 60MPH speed limit which for how the lake is layed out and all the traffic, probably isn't the worst idea to keep everyone safe. Or maybe they keep main channel clear up center of lake for the initial blast so you can run what ya brung, give the people the show in the beginning for the initial start that they want to see and then knock it back to 60 after that.
Like I said, hopefully the board members will take this as a learning experience and put the effort in to make some changes again for next year to bring it back, get more go fast boats back, etc. If not, then this run is destined for failure and will disappear again like it did years ago.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:48 AM
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And another note, up until this year, this poker run was listed as one of the best poker runs in the country for power boats and hailed as a must do bucket list event for go fast guys that like to travel the country and do PR's.
Over the past few years it kept getting bigger and bigger like the Tickfaw 200 or Texas Outlaw challenge, etc. has over the years and now this one is going backwards in my opinion.
By the way, Tickfaw is a must do if you've never done it! we did it for first time this year and had a blast and cant wait for next year now that we know what to do and what not to do, etc.
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Old 07-30-2017, 08:42 PM
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Hate to say it as this was my fav run but unless John Woodruff comes back this run is over for as a gofast event..
We won't be back unless he returns..
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