Formerly organized and hosted by the Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association, the popular Buffalo Poker Run will be back next year—but not under the WYNOPA banner. Instead, Tony Scioli of Elite Poker Runs LLC, the outfit that organized and promoted the Erie (Pa.) and Grand Island (N.Y.) poker runs is taking over the event.
“The Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association is getting out of the poker run business,” said Scioli, who directed the run for several years for the Buffalo-based club. “I am going to create an event that same weekend—I have yet to name it—at the same venue, Templeton Landing, so the run doesn’t die.
“My goal is to get it 100 boats, which is what it was before I stepped away,” he added.
Same venue, same date, different organizing outfit—a poker run will return to Buffalo, N.Y., in 2017. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Scioli inked a deal earlier this week with Peter Roberts of Double-R Performance, a full-service dealer of new Nor-Tech models as well as several brands of pre-owned sportboats in the Ontario, Canada area, to be the title sponsor for his Buffalo event.
“They are in—they love the venue and they love the event,” he said. “Last year, we lost a little of our Canadian support,” he said. “The advantage of it not being a ‘WYNOPA event’ is I have the ability to work with the Performance Boat Club of Canada and our local club to get everyone excited about it again.”
That the Buffalo event didn’t compete with Poker Runs America’s famed 1,000 Islands Poker Run this year was a step in the right direction for both events. Recognizing the need to minimize event schedule conflicts, Scioli also has rescheduled Elite Poker Runs’ Erie Poker Run for June 23-24.
“This year we competed with Four Horsemen Poker Run in Wisconsin,” said Scioli. “For next year, I ran the new dates by the organizers and we agreed to have the events on different weekends.”
Avoiding a schedule conflict with the Lake Cumberland Poker Run in Kentucky also has Scioli rethinking his end-of-summer dates for the Grand Island Poker Run at the historic Buffalo Launch Club. This year’s inaugural event pulled in 34 boats—with many potential participants citing their pre-existing Lake Cumberland event plans as the reason they couldn’t commit to the Grand Island run—and Scioli had to commit to 50 slips.
“I’m working with the Buffalo Launch Club management to try to change the dates,” said Scioli. “If the club is willing to work with me on making another date available, it’s going to happen.”