With the border closed between the United States and Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a closure extension confirmed, organizers of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run met today to finalize a decision they’ve been dreading. The fourth annual event in Clayton, N.Y., which was originally set for July 16-18, is officially cancelled.
In just three years, the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run has become one of go-fast boating’s most popular events and has attracted participants from around the country, including Rick Bowling of Alamo, Calif., who ran Gone Again in the 2019 event. Photos by Tim Sharkey copyright Sharkey Images/speedonthewater.com.
At primary issue was U.S. boat traffic on Canadian waters as the course travels both the U.S. and Canada sides of the St. Lawrence River, as well as travel to the U.S. for Canadian participants. The event organizers announced their decision to cancel this evening through a post on the event’s Facebook page.
“Nonessential travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada border have been extended for an additional 30 days, now expiring on July 21,” the post read. “This is an obstacle we do not feel we can overcome. A good portion of the run itself takes place in Canadian waters which is now prohibited during our event, unfortunately.”
“Canadian waters makes up about half of our course,” said Bobby Cantwell, a member of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run organizing committee .“Canadian participants can’t come across the border by car or boat. Our U.S.-based participants won’t know where the border line is as it weaves its way through the islands and most of them come early to enjoy lunch or dinner trips to Kingston or Brockville, Ontario.”
According to its organizers, the event will return in 2021.
As previously reported on the speedonthewater.com, 65 participants who signed for the run can either receive a refund for their registration fee or apply them to the 2021 event. The organizers are encouraging those inclined to donate their fees to the event’s charities including Make-A-Wish of Central New York or the River Hospital Wellness Program.
Registrants in the cancelled 2020 event can donate their refunded fees to the event’s various charities.