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Big Cat Poker Run Wrap-Up: 60-Boat Fleet Beats the Heat

Discovery Bay’s Gary Colledge and friends enjoyed yesterday’s Big Cat Poker Run in Colledge’s unique power-hardtop Skater catamaran (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

Under orange and brown haze from the ongoing Jerusalem Fire in Lake County, Calif., the Big Cat Poker Run went off yesterday without a hitch. OK, there was one hitch—Saturday’s temperatures soared into the high-90- to low-100-degree range, which while not uncommon this time year for Discovery Bay, Stockton and other points along the way for the annual event on the Sacramento River Delta is far from comfortable. Still, by all accounts, the folks who spent the day running in approximately 60 boats enjoyed their day on the water—as well as the post-run outdoor dinner with live music—during the annual event.

“They had a pretty good turnout,” said Rick Bowling of Alamo, Calif., who brought his outboard-powered 28-foot Skater and 37-foot Talon catamaran called Gone Again at the event. “We did lunch run on Friday to Bethel Island in the Skater, and the poker run on Saturday in Gone Again with my son, Ryan, and a couple of friends.

“They had two courses,” he added. “It’s really become as much as a get-together as anything else, which is probably good with all the weekend traffic on the delta. I think the highest speed I got up to was 140 mph playing with that Lick This Skater.”

For an an above-water view of yesterday’s Big Cat Poker Run, check out the slideshow above. Photos courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

Longtime Big Cat Poker Run participant Allen Bellinghausen, who helps organize the event, and his fiancé, Kim Capilla, joined Carl and Betty Zanger on their 38-foot Cigarette V-bottom. Like many of the participants in yesterday’s run, both couples live year-round in Discovery Bay, the waterside community that serves as the Big Cat Poker Run’s home base.

“I think we hit triple digits in heat, but that seems to be our normal poker run weather,” said Bellinghausen. “It was very comfortable in Carl’s boat, there weren’t a bunch of crazies out there. I think we went about 75 mph the whole time and it was great.”

For a water-level view of yesterday’s Big Cat Poker Run, check out the slideshow above. Photos courtesy/copyright Rick Bowling and Chad Schriefer/Speedonthewater.com.

Bellinghausen said that in recent years the Discovery Bay Lions Club has taken over the bulk of the organizational chores for the weeklong happening, which has Teague Custom Marine and Colledgewood as its longtime title sponsors as well as several other gold- and silver-level supporters. Proceeds for the event—a final tally has not been reached or released—go though the Discovery Bay Lions Club to support programs for children with visual impairments.

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