Heading into the 2014 Buffalo Poker Run in Western New York, I had no idea what to expect. But I have to confess that my expectations weren’t high. Lake Erie doesn’t exactly leap to mind when you think of sexy high-performance boating hotbeds. And having experienced more than a few locales that answer to that description, I had my doubts.
Still-passionate organizer to focus on Erie and Buffalo events. Photo courtesy/copyright Jeff Helmkamp/Jeff Helmkamp Photography.
Damn, was I wrong. Everything about the event blew me away. The weather and water were perfect, the host venue and its amenities were first-rate, the go-fast boat hardware was dazzling and the participants were as friendly and inclusive as they come.
Photographer Tim Sharkey, who convinced me to cover the event and introduced me Anthony Scioli, its primary organizer, told me I’d be pleasantly surprised. That was a major understatement.
As impressed I was with the overall event, then run under the Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association umbrella, I was even more so with its main organizer. Perhaps it was our shared restaurant industry backgrounds—I worked behind the apron from junior high school through college and Scioli has been in the business his entire life—but we clicked. Within a year, we became close friends.