Stu Jones, the founder of the Pompano Beach-based Florida Powerboat Club, remembers the day he arrived in Miami to start a new job—and a new life—in South Florida. That’s because the native of Toronto, Canada arrived there 29 years ago today. And when he exhibits for the FPC at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show February 13-17, it will mark the thirtieth time Jones has been part of the event.
The Miami International Boat Show has changed venues since Jones’ first trip to the event, but the Florida Powerboat Club founder still finds it relevant and compelling. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“I was doing sales for Chris Dilling of Southwest Marketing,” said Jones, who just returned from organizing and producing last weekend’s FPC Winter Escape Poker to the Florida Keys. “That was my first job in Florida.”
A renowned high-performance powerboat painter, Dilling moved on to start Grafik EFX. Jones founded the now 27-year-old Florida Powerboat Club a few years later.
For Jones, the Miami event, and South Beach in general, were a revelation.
“It rocked my world,” he said. “It was like being on vacation and having a job at the same time. I was blown away by all of it.
“The Miami Boat Show has transitioned to a new location but it is still a vibrant, brilliant event,” he continued “I like shows of all kinds with big crowds and energy. I just get a kick out of them.”
Jones said that while he appreciates the event’s current Miami Marine Stadium venue on Virginia Key, the move from the Miami Convention Center in South Beach took a toll on the overall experience for attendees.
“Being at the world’s greatest boat show was just part of the appeal,” he said. “South Beach has its own personality and it was a big part of the experience. The show certainly has changed, and while it’s still great we’ll never be able to replace that South Beach vibe.”
An offshoot of the annual Miami exhibition, the FPC’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run to Key Largo is set for the weekend after the show. The run is nearly sold out, according to Jones.
Jones will use his Project 1080 Cigarette as a paceboat for the upcoming Miami Boat Show Poker Run.
Editor’s Note: Look for a coverage of the FPC Winter Poker Run later tomorrow on speedothewater.com.