Lost with the cancellation of this year’s Miami International Boat Show was “the big-top” atmosphere that no other powerboat show in this country can match. No matter how you feel about Cigarette Racing Team’s marketing partnership with Mercedes-AMG—and everyone seems to have a strong take on it—in large measure it drives the Opa-Locka, Fla., company’s consistently fantastic floating exhibit on the water during the annual Miami happening.
No matter how many times you see a quad-cam four-valve Mercury Racing stern-drive engine or one of the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s brilliant V-8 outboards, seeing them displayed together “under the big tent” never fails to impress.
Captured here on the way to Gilbert’s Resort and Tiki Bar for last month’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run, Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones plans to keep the exhibit element in the event in next year’s run. Photos courtesy/copyright of the Florida Powerboat Club
Nothing can replace that event when it comes to scale. But with Gilbert’s Resort and Tiki Bar in Key Largo as its host venue, the Florida Powerboat Club Miami Boat Show Poker Run and Exhibit delivered many spectacular scenes of its own.
As reported on speedonthewater.com, the Miami show will return in 2022 to the renovated, Miami Convention Center venue from Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key, the event’s home since 2016. Opinions vary on whether that’s a good or bad thing, but regardless Stu Jones and company at the Florida Powerboat Club plan to once again have a boat show of their own during next year’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run.
“I’ve worked the Miami Boat Show for 30 years and if there’s one thing I learned, these performance manufacturers and dealers rely on this major February selling event every year to generate sales,” said Jones. “So when the show got cancelled, I took a leap of faith and made a major investment in FPC resources to pull this show together. Hearing the number of sales and good leads that came out of the event, makes me feel like we made the right move. I just want to thank all those who supported the event, because it was a win/win for so many.
“Not only did this outcome set the stage for a similar format in 2022 and years ahead, it gave FPC a chance to raise money for a local charity,” he continued. “When FPC stops at Gilberts for lunch during the Spring Key West Poker Run on March 18, FPC will donate $5,000—along with Gilbert’s matching funds—making a total of $ 10,000 that will be donated to Special Olympics of Florida, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office accepting the presentation. That’s a nice way to wrap up a successful event, and it opens a new chapter for FPC in years to come.”