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Gratton And FMO Events Make Southwest Florida The Place To Be For New Years

Pounded by rain and wind this year, the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run organized by Ryan Beckley will return for its eighth running in Sarasota, Fla., on the first day of 2019. Beckley said that while he hopes the event, which celebrates the life of a popular Sarasota-based offshore racer who died following an offshore racing accident in 2011, will attract at least 75 boats it will offer more than one day of warm-weather winter boating.

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The Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun and the Fort Myers Offshore New Year’s Fun Run present relatively adjacent organized early winter happenings for go-fast powerboating enthusiasts (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

“We’ll be boating all week before the fun run—December 28, 29, 30 and 31—and, of course, to the Tarpon Bay Grill and Tiki Bar on New Year’s Day (to celebrate Gratton),” said Beckley. “Everyone is welcome and there are no fees—all you have to do is show up. I just ordered event shirts from Vinnie at Graphic Ink and as usual we’ll be having our New Year’s Eve party at the shop. And the newly Remodeled Ramada Inn will be having some great specials, parties and room rates for the fun-runners.”

As in past years, speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden will be there to capture the action via helicopter during the Gratton event.

For Gratton Memorial participants who feel like making a trip to the south for another organized event, Fort Myers Offshore is holding its annual New Year’s Fun on Dec. 29 from the Sanibel Bridge to CJ’s On The Bay on Marco Island. According to FMO president Eric Belisle, the club also will have Boden shooting the event from a helicopter

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