Less than two weeks away, the fifth annual Joey Gratton New Year’s Day Memorial Fun Run in Sarasota, Fla., is drawing performance-boat owners from the around the country. That’s the word from Ryan Beckley, the organizer of the event, which runs from Sarasota Bay through Tampa Bay and up the Manatee River to the Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar for a casual lunch and daylong celebration.
“It’s looking good,” Beckley said. “People from all over will be coming in.”
The growing list of out-of-state attendees reads like a “Who’s Who” of the national go-fast boating community. Fresh off his 2015 Super Boat International Stock-Class World Title in his 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran called Talbot Excavating, Kyler Talbot will make the trek from Washington. Jimmy Speros is coming from Texas with his immaculately restored 1980s-vintage Fountain Powerboats V-bottom in tow.
After tying the knot with his fiancé, Quinn, in Asbury Park, N.J. on New Year’s Eve, Chris LaMorte, who ran the 2015 Around Long Island Challenge in his 36-foot Skater cat with Beckley, and his new bride will catch a 6 a.m. flight bound for Sarasota and should be there in plenty of time to enjoy the run. Beckley’s best friend Timmy Kenney, and his wife, Kristen, are coming all the way from California—they’re actually relocating to Florida—with their 28-foot Ghost.
A bit closer to home, Ron Muller is bringing his 30-foot Skater from Fort Lauderdale, while Troy and Chastity Curry of Key West are coming with their 24-foot Skater.
Editor’s note: Organizer Ryan Beckley can be reached through the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run Facebook page.