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Big Cat Poker Run Roaring to Life this Weekend

With approximately 60 powerboats registered, the annual Big Cat Poker Run based out of Discovery Bay, Calif., kicks off this morning with a fun/lunch run to Bethel Island. Shooting the event for the first time is Florida-based photographer Jay Nichols, who’ll be working from a helicopter today and tomorrow.

“It looks like it’s going to a good run—they have a lot of good boats,” said Nichols. “It’s really different out here, but beautiful in its own way.”

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“Beautiful in its own way,” California’s Discovery Bay has a substantial collection of go-fast boats, as well as its own iconic lighthouse thanks to local residents Ed and Jean Stewart (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols

While Nichols is new to the area, he’s no stranger to members of the Discovery Bay community. Shooting the Desert Storm Poker Run in Arizona during the years, he’s met a number of Discovery Bay locals including Gary and Rosemary Colledge, who have a couple of Skater catamarans and more on lifts in front of the waterside home.

“Ro is a trip without a suitcase,” Nichols said, then laughed. “For the poker run, she and some of the gals here actually get a limo and they take it to the card stops—the limo is actually registered in the poker run. It’s wonderful.”

Joining the Big Cat Poker Run for the first time are six wakeboard/ski boats, according to Karl Koster, another Discovery Bay local, who owns Special K, a 38-foot Skater catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines.

“They’re going to do a shorter run,” Koster said. “The Lion’s Club (the event’s longtime benefittiing charity for the run, which supports programs for children with visual impairments) has a lot ski boat owners who wanted to participate. That’s new this year.”

Longtime title supporters Colledgewood and Teague Custom Marine are on board this year, as is DCB Performance Boats, Wozencraft Insurance and several other sponsors including Koster, IMCO Marine, Adams Pool Solutions and the The Zanger Team. (For a full list of sponsors, click here.)

Editor’s note: Look for updates from the 2015 Big Cat Poker Run, as well as a wrap-up from the event, this weekend.

Related story: On Scene: Fun in the Sun at Big Cat Poker Run