One of the last remaining significant poker runs in California—while Lake Havasu borders California and Arizona the Desert Storm Poker Run is an Arizona-based event—the annual Big Cat Poker Run, August 16-17 on the Sacramento River Delta, could attract 70 or more high-performance boats this year. The run, which started in 2000, is now organized by the Discovery Bay (Calif.) Lion’s Club—proceeds from the event go the club’s charity programs—and has Teague Custom Marine as its title/charter supporter.
“We feel that it is important to provide continuous charity support to the Discovery Bay Lions Club, which in turn supports many causes in the community,” said Bob Teague of the Valencia, Calif.-based company.
While registration for the event is just starting to gain momentum, the Big Cat Poker Run always attracts top-notch hardware primarily from members of the Discovery Bay go-fast boat community. With local beauties including Gary Colledge’s 38-foot hardtop Skater catamaran, which recently took “Best in Show” honors at the 2013 Desert Storm Poker Run, Ed Stewart’s new 44-foot MTI catamaran, Jim Henson’s 42-foot Outerlimits, Teague’s 44-foot Skater cat (lovingly dubbed the “Teague family runabout”), several cats from event sponsor Dave’s Custom Boats and many more committed to the run, this year will be no exception.
Covering approximately 70 miles, the Big Cat Poker Run starts at the Discovery Bay Marina and makes its first stop at the Pittsburg Yacht Club and Marina. From there, it heads to the new docks in downtown Stockton for its lunch stop, complete with live music, at the University Plaza Riverfront Hotel.
“The hotel was recently redone and is absolutely beautiful,” said Allen Bellinghausen, one of the original Big Cat Run organizers who is working with the Lion’s Club on the event as a consultant. “They have a pool and a very large lawn area where they set up the tables for lunch and a band, and we just have a great time. It’s actually kind of hard to get everybody out of there when it’s time to head back.”
After lunch, the poker run fleet returns to Discovery Bay Marina, where participants receive all their cards, which are played later during the event’s dinner and awards ceremony, again with live music.
Repeat participants from outside the area—the Big Cat Poker Run typically draws go-fast boat owners from Southern California and Arizona—will notice something new this year in Discovery Bay, a lighthouse donated by Ed and Jean Stewart and installed by members of the community.
Editor’s Note: Speedonthewater.com and Speed On The Water magazine will provide coverage of the 2013 Big Cat Poker Run and will have its promotional trailer on site during the event.