In what was a challenging transitional year at the organizing level, the 2021 Big Cat Poker Run in Northern California still attracted 70 boats and raised more than $100,000, which netted $50,000 for the Discovery Bay Lions Club to donate to various charities in the surrounding community. Registration for the 2022 event stands at 80 entries.
Benefitting the Discovery Bay Lions Club, the Big Cat Poker Run will travel the sloughs of the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta for a good cause this weekend. Photo courtesy Erick Bryner/Fast Loud Photography.
Online registration closed yesterday, though on-site registration for the event will remain open through Saturday morning.
“We typically get a few boat owners who show up and register Friday, but it’s really more about who will be riding in each boat,” said Debbie Finnegan, who is the membership chair-person for the Discovery Bay Lions Club and served as its president for two years.
The festivities begin tonight with a VIP sponsor dinner at Discovery Bay Yacht Club. Tomorrow’s lunch run to Smith Landing in Antioch will be followed by an evening welcome party back at Discovery Bay Marina. After the Saturday morning captains meeting, the fleet will head out on the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta for the multi-stop poker run. The final stop of the day prior to the Saturday night dinner celebration at Discovery Bay Marina will be Windmill Cove Resort.
Finnegan and her family moved to the waterfront community of Discovery Bay three years ago and she recently was voted “Citizen of the Year” by the Discovery Bay Chamber of Commerce. She has set this year’s gross fundraising goal at $125,000.
“The Big Cat Poker Run is by far the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Discovery Bay Lions Club,” she explained. “It provides most of the donations were are able to give back to the community.”
DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte will deliver this new M33R catamaran to Brett and Sheila Baur in advance of this weekend’s Northern California happening.
Returning in its longtime founding title sponsor role, Teague Custom Marine of Valencia, Calif., will be represented by company founder/owner Bob Teague (the subject of an upcoming Speed On The Water “In The Lead” documentary-style video) and his wife, Andrea, their daughter—and Teague Custom Marine marketing manager—Cherilyn Noack and her husband, Josh. Other high-performance marine industry backers of the Big Cat Poker Run include DCB Performance Boats, Nordic Boats, Bio-Kleen, Hallett Boats and Eliminator Boats.
“We’re so happy to be back at the Big Cat,” said Tony Chiaramonte of DCB, who arrived in the Bay Area yesterday from Southern California. “Not only is it a great event for a great cause, we have 15-plus customers—including Brett and Sheila Baur who are taking delivery of a brand-new M33R before the event—who will be there.”