An early season fixture at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri for more than 10 years, the Support Our Troops Poker Run was a no-go this year. But H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, its longtime charity, will not go unsupported. Led by event founder Ed Champion Marine, the decision-makers at Big Thunder Marine in Lake Ozark, have decided to make the event’s original charity a part of its upcoming inaugural event.
The inaugural Big Thunder Marine Customer Appreciation Fun Run To Benefit H.E.R.O.E.S. Care is open to all clients and friends of the dealership. Photo from the 2019 Support Our Troops Poker Run courtesy/copyright Jim Davis/speedonthewater.com.
The result? On June 26, Big Thunder Marine will host a Customer Appreciation Fun Run to the benefit H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, a veterans’ services organization and the longtime charity of the annual Support Our Troops happening. Unlike Big Thunder’s BFD Fun Run that is exclusive to owners of Baja, Fountain and Donzi offerings, the Customer Appreciation Fun Run is open to all of the dealership’s clients and friends.
Time constraints and staffing limitations forced Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo., out of producing the Support Our Troops Poker Run, which it has done successfully for the past five years, this year. Said Brett Manire, “We just didn’t have the time or the people this year. I am pleased another event will be supporting the charity.”
“When I learned Support Our Troops was being cancelled and replaced with an outboard fun run, I got with (Big Thunder general manager) Jeremy Anderson and (owner) Fred Ross to talk about doing something for our customers and supporting the charity,” said Champion. “Though we have a short timespan to get everything together, we decided to go for it.”
As they did during the Support Our Troops Poker Run, participants will give rides to active and retired members of the military. Registration will open on the Big Thunder Marine website later this week.