Speed boats returning to the Sault waterfront for 2019 Poker Run

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2018 Poker Run
2018 Poker Run. Photo supplied.

Go. Fast. Again. High-speed offshore powerboats are returning to the St. Mary’s River this summer. Poker Runs America is holding its 2019 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run from July 26 to 28 on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront.

Poker Run day is Saturday, July 27, with the opening ceremony scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Roberta Bondar Marina. At 10:30 a.m., the speed boats will depart and roar east down the river. They’ll collect playing cards at the St. Joseph Island Bridge, Thessalon, Richards Landing and – for the first time – a new stop in Bruce Mines. When the powerboats return to Sault Ste. Marie in the afternoon, the best poker hand wins.

On Poker Run day, citizens are invited to the shoreline to watch the vessels speed by. For a route map of the best vantage points to see the boats, along with a full schedule and other information, click here.

On Friday, July 26, the public can head down to the Roberta Bondar Marina & Pavilion to check out the powerboats and meet the drivers. As well, on Sunday, July 28, citizens can take a Charity Ride of a Lifetime, with all proceeds going to the Twinkie Foundation, an organization supporting local families that have to travel for children’s medical appointments. Ride space is limited. Spots can be booked on the Sault Poker Run website.

Meanwhile, organizers are seeking boat marshals to assist in running this year’s Poker Run. Any type of powerboat can help out at the designated points along the route. To sign up, or for more details, click here.

The inaugural CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run took place in 2016 and has been held on the St. Mary’s River every summer since. The event, which is sanctioned by the American Poker Runs Association, is facilitated by Power Boating Canada and Poker Runs America Magazine. For the organizers, the goal is to put on a great show for spectators while also focusing on safety. In fact, with 300 Poker Runs taking place over the past 30 years, no major incidents have been reported.

“Some of these boats are capable of speeds well over 100 miles per hour, but it’s not a race – it’s a game of chance as participants collect a card at each stop, and only the best poker hand determines the winner,” said event organizer Bill Taylor, President of Poker Runs America. “We’re thrilled to be returning to Sault Ste. Marie this summer. With pristine waterways, beautiful scenery and great hospitality, it’s a perfect community to hold the event. The area has some of the best boating terrain in North America, and we’re excited to be coming back.”

For anyone with a performance boat who would like to participate in the 2019 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run, signup and other info is available here.

The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, through its Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division, helped secure the Poker Run for the community. The division, which works to attract visitors, has also been assisting organizers in delivering the event for the past four years.

“The Poker Run draws visitors, provides entertainment for area residents and also helps boost our community’s profile as a top boating destination,” said Dan Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “I thank Power Boating Canada and Poker Runs America, along with our partners at the City of Sault Ste. Marie and all the volunteers, for making this event possible.”

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