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A Thunderous Effort

There’s no denying Tennessee performance boater Justin Lucas deserves a lot of credit for helping build the Lake Cumberland Thunder Run into a major nationally known event. But he’s the first one to tell you that the run, which was held at State Dock in Jamestown, Ky., for the first time in the event’s 10-year history on Saturday, June 16, is a total team effort.


Although it was its 10th anniversary, this year’s Lake Cumberland Thunder Run took place at State Dock in Jamestown, Ky., for the first time. Photo by Kevin Johns/Instant Memories Photography

Not only does he and his good friend, Dan Weiss, devote hundreds of hours of their personal time a year to organizing the run, they recruit their significant others and some dedicated friends to make sure the event goes off smoothly for the 100-plus boaters who attend the Thunder Run annually. Or in the case of this year, an unexpected 180-plus boats that decided to make the trip to the popular houseboat destination—State Dock—at the last minute.

“Whether you have 80 boats or 180 boats, it’s never easy organizing an event—you’re only as good as the supporting cast around you, and Dan and I have an amazing team,” Lucas said. “Since this was out first time at State Dock, we’ve already identified some things we can improve for next year. Even though we were only prepared for about 150 boats—we expected 125 or so based on pre-registrations—we improvised, adding two more groups and using stickers from past years to accommodate everyone.

“From the outside looking in, I’ve heard nothing but good things, but from an insider’s perspective, it was a little chaotic,” he continued. “Overall, the venue was great, the party was amazing, everybody was safe and the winners definitely went home happy with their prizes.”

Check out the slideshow above for even more of Kevin Johns’ images from the 10th annual Lake Cumberland Thunder Run.

Lucas takes pride in the event prizes, which includes custom watches, LED signs and coolers, not to mention free houseboat rentals, high-end marine speakers and much more. He works particularly hard at gathering prize packages as well as wrangling up a list of sponsors that value the event and the effort Lucas puts into it each year.

Here’s the thing about Lucas that everyone who knows him well can tell you, he’s loyal. Case in point, Lucas, his wife, Erin, and their three kids, Alexandra, Emma and Jackson, opted to trailer their boat—a 30-foot Concept Boats center console—a few hours to the Kuttawa Cannonball Run based at the beautiful Kuttawa Harbor Marina in Kuttawa, Ky., less than a week after an exhausting couple of weeks preparing for the Thunder Run.

Read more: A Thunderous Effort

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