Scrubbed in 2020 like so many large-group boating events, the Boyne Thunder Poker Run based out of Boyne City, Mich., made a triumphant return last weekend. That the event had to wait another year to celebrate its 18th birthday was the last thing on the minds of the 120 high-performance powerboat owners and their guests who showed up in Northern Michigan for the happening, which included a Thursday lunch run to Bay Harbor, a Thursday night welcome party at Boyne Mountain Resort, a Friday night street party and exhibit in Boyne City and—of course—Saturday’s poker run and dinner celebration/auction.
A longtime member of the Boyne Thunder Poker Run organizing committee, Pete Oppermann ran his 37-foot Outerlimits in the event. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Pete Oppermann has been on the Boyne Thunder organizing committee for 14 years. His duties have kept him out of the poker run for more than half of them, but this year he was able to run Just Sayin, his 37-foot Outerlimits, in the event.
“My kids look forward to this more than Christmas,” he said, then laughed. “It was awesome. The weather was perfect. The crowd on the channel (leading from Lake Michigan to Charlevoix/Round Lake) was crazy. Though the last leg was choppy, the run was mostly flat.
“And I got second place in the poker run hands,” he added.
Boyne Thunder first-timer Jack Gladke, who hauled his Donzi Marine 38 ZRC called Red Baron some 720 miles from his home in Upstate New York with his wife, Cara, and couple of friends to be there, was even more pumped on the experience.
Michigan’s David Schaller treated his guests to a fine day in Mavrik II, his Skater 388 catamaran.
“It’s the best event I’ve ever been to,” said Gladke, who took his 38-footer to the Kuttawa Cannonball Run in Kentucky last month. “Everything about it is organized and efficient. The water was perfect—probably the calmest Lake Michigan has ever been. It was just an awesome experience.”
Another pair of Boyne Thunder first-timers, Geoff Tomlinson and Henrik Margård of Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, were equally impressed. They were among several high-performance marine industry folks on hand for the event, including Michael Knoblock of American Custom Marine, Mike D’Anniballe of Sterling Performance Engines, John Cosker and Greg Weber of Mystic Powerboats, who ran an M4200 center console, Tony Cutsuries of Skater Powerboats, Dan Kleitz of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats (strongly represented with 17 boats in the fleet), Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance Agency and more.
“This is rapidly becoming my favorite event,” said Tomlinson, who was hosted for the run with Margård by Michigan’s Bill and Lori Lemanske on their Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console. “The scenery is breathtaking and the water is so clear. The people and the town are so involved. It’s such a cool event—nothing like staying at a ski lodge and doing a poker run in the same day.
“I had no idea what to expect,” he added.
Enjoy more images from last weekend’s Boyne Thunder Poker Run in the slideshow above.
Yet no one was more gratified with Boyne Thunder’s successful return than event coordinator Ingrid Day, who replaced longtime Boyne Thunder organizing committee head Bob Alger after the 2019 event and lived through the pain of the 2020 cancellation. The 2021 happening was her first time at the helm.
“The weekend was amazing and I really don’t think that’s an overstatement,” she said. “Our participants were ready to rock it Saturday morning and that vibe carried over into an exceptionally fun and generous Saturday evening event.
“I think everyone needs to come back if that mix is how we get the perfect weather again,” she added.
Though the final total from Saturday’s auction isn’t in, one item alone—a wine-tasting event at Peacock Family Vineyard in Napa Valley donated by Peacock through speedonthewater.com—reportedly fetched more than $10,000. Proceeds from the Boyne Thunder Poker Run benefit Camp Quality-Michigan and Challenge Mountain, a pair of local programs serving children in need.
Pure Boyne Thunder—pure Northern Michigan.
Editor’s note: Look for a complete feature on the 2021 Boyne Thunder Poker Run in the next issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine.
Image Of The Week: Flying First Class—Skater 388 Style—At Boyne Thunder
Boyne Thunder Moment: Fountain Alums Cross Paths
Photo Essay: Drizzle Doesn’t Deter Bay Harbor Fun-Runners
Outerlimits And Skater Lead Boyne Thunder Poker Run Brand Representation
Image Of The Week: Parade Lap In Boyne City