Want to speed down the St. Mary’s River ?

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Want to speed down the St. Mary’s River on a 3,000-horsepower racing boat this summer? Not quite enticing enough for you? What if the proceeds from your ride went to Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie?

The community service organization partnered with the 2016 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run. Taking place August 5 to 7, the event will bring massive offshore-style, v-bottom and catamaran race boats from around the world to the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront. During the last day, fans will be able to participate in the “Ride of a Lifetime” and, for a fee, take a 20-minute spin on one of the vessels. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie.

With rides departing from the downtown Roberta Bondar Marina, the cost is $60 for children under 12 years old and $100 for others. To pre-book a ride ticket, visit the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie website at www.saulttourism.com. To book a ticket and accommodations package, visit www.saulttourism.com/packages. Space for the “Ride of a Lifetime” is limited, so book your spot as soon as possible.

Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie; Michael Gagnon, Mentoring Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie; Rebecca Bolton, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie; and Pierre Savoie, Event Coordinator for Poker Runs America.
Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie; Michael Gagnon, Mentoring Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie; Rebecca Bolton, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie; and Pierre Savoie, Event Coordinator for Poker Runs America.

“As a not-for-profit charity, we rely heavily on fundraising, community support and sponsorship to provide our programming and, as such, the chance to partner with Poker Runs America and Tourism Sault Ste. Marie for this event is an amazing opportunity for us,” said Rebecca Bolton, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie. “All money raised by our organization remains in the community to help local children, and the experience we provide can truly be life-changing for both our mentees and mentors.”

During the 2016 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run, vessels ranging from 35 to 50 feet will speed to Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, Thessalon and Drummond Island. At each location, participants collect a card in a sealed envelope. When they return to the Sault’s downtown, the best poker hand wins. Community residents will have an opportunity to take part in the weekend events. Activities and entertainment are planned at the Roberta Bondar Marina and Pavilion, including:

Friday, August 5: The public will have a chance to see the high-performance boats up-close and meet the owners and crew under the Roberta Bondar Pavilion from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 6: On Poker Run day, spectators are welcome to line up along the Sault Ste. Marie shoreline to see the boats in action and “hear the thunder and feel the rumble” as they start their run east. Opening remarks will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the Roberta Bondar Marina, followed by a Parade of Power along the waterfront. The boats will begin their run with a group-start scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Citizens in Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, Thessalon and Drummond Island are encouraged to welcome boats as they arrive for a card stop. In the evening, a party is being planned on Queen Street.

Sunday, August 7: For a fee, citizens can participate in the “Ride of a Lifetime” along the St. Mary’s River. Weekend accommodation packages are available, as well as individual charity ride tickets. Proceeds from the ride will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie.
“In all of our Poker Runs, we team up with a charity in the host community, and we’re thrilled to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie for our 2016 ‘Ride of a Lifetime’ event,” said Bill Taylor, President of Power Boating Canada and Poker Runs America. “Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie is an excellent group that does excellent work, and we’re very happy to support them.”

The 2016 President’s Cup VIP Poker Run is expected to draw hundreds of international participants and fans. It will also generate significant promotional opportunities for the community, as helicopter aerial footage will be used to produce a video that will complement marketing spreads in Power Boating Canada, Poker Runs America and other magazines. Given the benefits for the city, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with its industry partners and Poker Runs America to secure the event.

“Hosting the 2016 President’s Cup VIP Poker Run gives us an opportunity to showcase our community’s gorgeous waterfront and the North Channel of Lake Huron, which is widely regarded as one of the best boating locations in North America,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “Along with the promotional benefits, the event will also generate a considerable amount of visitor spending. We thank the City of Sault Ste. Marie and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation for their support in securing this summer spectacle.”