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Commentary: Boyne Thunder Still Rules


Stroll the docks at Boyne City Marina today and you’ll find a healthy collection of exceptional hardware that’s only getting larger as boats continue to arrive for the 19th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run. In a few hours, the organizers will start setting up and closing the streets for tonight’s powerboat and hot rod show in the Northern Michigan town.

John and Julie Tokar’s Kahuna Outerlimits V-bottom is among the 120 high-performance beauties in town this weekend for the Boyne Thunder Poker Run. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Yesterday’s UnRiehl Performance-backed lunch run from Boyne City to Bay Harbor attracted 50-plus boats. And last night, hundreds of Boyne Thunder participants enjoyed a welcome reception, which was sponsored by American Custom Marine and Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, at Boyne Mountain Resort.

In other words, it’s business as usual for Boyne Thunder—and business is excellent.

What makes this event so spectacular is contrast. Boyne City is a tiny waterfront town surrounded by wooded hills, a postcard of Americana in an unspoiled part of the natural world. So when an outrageous boat such as Hurry Up, a canopied 46-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats catamaran recently repowered with 2,000-plus-hp engines, rolls through town on its way to the Lake Charlevoix, it turns heads.

Because it’s a spectacle.

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Enjoy more images from yesterday’s Bay Harbor lunch run.

And it’s one that will be repeated throughout the day ahead of tomorrow’s poker run that starts on Lake Charlevoix, crosses Round Lake and heads onto Lake Michigan, which can be a mill pond or a maelstrom—often in the same afternoon.

Years ago, I wrote a commentary with the headline, “Is Boyne Thunder The World’s Best Poker Run?” Knowing the headline was rhetorical, the organizers ran with it in their marketing efforts and soon it was on posters and signage.

Synchronized waving, NorTech 390 Sport center-console style.

Of course, I got blowback from readers with different opinions. No one quibbled with the family-oriented event’s excellence, but some readers prefer destination poker runs such as the Florida Powerboat Club’s annual Key West, Fla., blockbuster. Some prefer the starkly beautiful Colorado River setting of the Desert Storm Poker Run. The list goes on.

To each their own, I get it and love it and support it. (The world would be a pretty dull place if we agreed on everything.) It’s “eye of the beholder” stuff.

But I still stand by what I wrote.

Boyne Thunder is the world’s best poker run. And lucky for everyone here, there are two days left.

Jason and Laurie Moe and their children, Katelin and Colton, brought their Hurry Up Outerlimits catamaran all the way from Washington for the 19th annual Boyne Thunder happening.

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