Without question, I’ve seen the best and the worst of the annual Big Cat Poker Run on the Sacramento River Delta. The first time I covered it, I saw a flawless run with live music at every stop and a great party after the run that attracted almost everyone who participated.
The second time I covered the Big Cat, I saw—from a helicopter with photographer Robert Brown—a wicked wreck at the start that included one boat running over the cockpit of another. Miraculously, no one was killed. But it looked like the end of the line for the run—for good.
Not so. The Big Cat came back, albeit slowly, and on Saturday, August 14, will celebrate its 10th anniversary. According to one of the organizers I spoke with at the Desert Storm event on Lake Havasu a couple of weeks ago, they are expecting more than 100 boats.
This year, the event will include a “Boat, Bike and Hot Rod Show” on Thursday night and the traditional Friday lunch run, which is a must—for learning the waterways as well as taking in the sights and having fun—for first-timers on the Delta. The event concludes with a dinner Saturday night, with live music of course, where the poker hands are drawn.
But it’s not just all fun and games. The Big Cat Poker raises money for the Discovery Bay Lion’s Club, which assists visually impaired children.
“It’s going to be a great run this year,” Bob Teague of Teague Custom Marine, the title sponsor for the event, told me during Desert Storm. “Big Cat has always been one of my favorites.”
I will be there to cover this year’s Big Cat run via regular audio reports thanks to Tim Sharkey of Sharkey Images. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends in Discovery Bay, Calif., which boasts some of the hottest performance boats west of the Mississippi.