At the end of any given safe, successful high-performance boating event, the organizers and their teams of volunteers exhale a long sigh of relief. If the event in question reached or exceeded expectations, joy soon overtakes relief. And then the party begins.
Speedonthewater.com national advertising sales manager Ryan Johnson and his partner Merit Raff joined hosts Todd Goodwin and Becky Marcoe in Goodwin’s 42-foot Fountain V-bottom. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
So organizer Shannon Radtke and her business partner, Jason Lindemann, are feeling more than a little joy now that the 10th annual Four Horsemen Poker Run in Oshkosh, Wis., is complete. Strike that. They’re delighted.
Today’s record-setting, 86-boat poker run on Lake Winnebago came off without a hitch. What’s more, it presented a reversal of fortune from last year’s run, which saw a photo helicopter plummet into the Fox River and claim the life of Jonathon Bahr, its 27-year-old pilot. The accident essentially ended the 2018 run before it really got started.
In honor of Bahr, Radtke and the poker-run participants ended the mandatory captain’s meeting this morning with a moment of silence, followed by the launch of a sky lantern. And then the group headed out to enjoy some of the best water and weather in the event’s 10-year history.
“The day couldn’t have been more perfect,” said Radtke. “Everything was seamless—and there were no tragedies. We call that a victory.”
Speedonthewater.com national advertising sales manager and his longtime partner Merit Raff made the five-hour drive from their home in Minneapolis for the event. Famed high-performance engine man Todd Goodwin of Goodwin Competition Racing Engines and his fiancé Becky Marcoe hosted Johnson and Raff for the day on their 42-foot Fountain Powerboats V-bottom powered by Goodwin Competition engines.
“Everything was so easy and well-organized,” Johnson said. “Shannon is such a commanding force, and her partner Jason is just so nice and gracious. But that described everyone we met this weekend—such a nice group of people, all around.”
Representing Four Horsemen Poker Run sponsor Mercury Racing in nearby Fond du Lac, Wis., were the high-performance marine engine and accessories company’s Rick Mackie and Nick Nida. Both said they were impressed by the experience on and off the water. Mercury Racing even made it into something of a weekend company field trip.
Check out the slideshow above for more images of today’s Four Horsemen Poker Run.
“We’ve sponsored the Four Horsemen event throughout the years but it’s been a while,” Mackie said. “We involved our employees and a good number of them came last night to check out the boats and enjoy the festivities. And we had a number of people stop by to check out our Mercury Racing Experience truck and the 300R, 400R and dual-calibration QC4v 1350/1100 sterndrive engine displays.
“Stuart Halley, our general manager, and his wife, Marilyn, just arrived and this is their first Four Horsemen event,” he continued. “Stuart is going to address the group tonight, just to say how we are happy to be part of this event. We support national poker runs and it makes sense to support one in our backyard, especially one that focuses upon safety and giving back to the community.”
After an incident-free day on Lake Winnebago, the 2019 Four Horsemen Poker Run is in the books.
Now all that remains for the participants of the 2019 Four Horsemen Poker Run is to play the poker hands—and celebrate. Without question, everyone involved in the event has earned the right to relax and enjoy it. And, though in perhaps lower-key fashion than they did during last night’s welcome party, they will.