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Erie Poker Run Subsidizing Travel-Lifts for Launch and Retrieval

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Completely self-contained, the venue for the Erie Poker Run is as spectacular as they come. All photos courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images

Aside from unruly water conditions that saw sloppy six- to eight-foot seas outside the breakwater, the most common complaint about the 2015 Erie Poker Run in Pennsylvania, which was organized by Tony Scioli of Elite Poker Runs LLC, was that the launch ramp was too short for boats longer than 38 feet. While Scioli said that local go-fast powerboat owners in the area are able to make it work, he also acknowledged that it did make launch and retrieval uncomfortable for those unfamiliar with the ramp during the inaugural event. Launch ramp improvements, said Scioli, are in progress but won’t be completed this year.

To improve the situation for participants in the second Erie Poker Run (June 10-11), Scioli—an owner of multiple restaurants who understands the service business better than most—has worked with Erie Harbor officials to subsidize travel-lifts for those who require them to get their big catamarans and V-bottoms to and from the water for the run.

At present, 25 boats are registered for the event, and registration is growing at roughly one boat per day, according to Scioli. Although his original target number was 50 boats, he’s expecting no less than 40.

“None of my friends from Buffalo have signed up yet,” said Scioli, who formerly organized the Buffalo Poker Run (Aug. 12-13) and is organizing the Grand Island Poker Run in New York (Sept. 10-11). “But now, with just 25 slips left, there’s a sense of urgency out there so things are picking up. We have new blood, too. Of the 25 boats signed up, only 12 were in the run last year.”

For a few more images from the 2015 Erie Poker Run, check out the Tim Sharkey slideshow above.

Earlier this year, the Erie Sports Commission named the Erie Poker Run the Best New Sporting Event in the area. Primary sponsors for the event include American Custom Marine and Precision Power Offshore, which recently merged (read the story) with Chief Performance. Photographer Tim Sharkey will once again be on hand to capture the action.

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