Hosted by the Lake Cumberland Powerboat Club at the one-and-only State Dock Marina in Jamestown, Ky., Saturday’s Lake Cumberland Thunder Run was a success in many ways. Not only did the 11th annual event have an excellent turnout with more than 130 registered entries, the weather was pretty remarkable with cooler temperatures than normal and the water conditions—besides being rough on Saturday because of a stiff breeze and all of the spectator and participant boat traffic—were great for Friday’s fun run festivities and Saturday’s five-stop poker run.
As evident by the image of these two beautiful Skater Powerboats catamarans running, the weather and water conditions were ideal during this year’s Lake Cumberland Thunder Run in Kentucky. Photo by Kevin Johns/Instant Memories Photography
Along with stops at Conley Bottom Resort, Burnside, Wolf Creek Marina (for lunch), Beaver Creek and State Dock, the event included another spectacular raft-up at the infamous Harmon Creek. The slideshow below includes several images from that incredible sight, which was quite fun for this journalist, who joined South Carolina’s Todd and Debby Campbell aboard their jaw-dropping MTI-V 57 Unbridled for a couple of passes through the flotilla of houseboats, sportboats, runabouts, ski/wakeboard boats, fishing boats and more.
When all was said and done—and the Naked Karate Girls were finished leading an awesome dance party on the party barge—it was apparent that the fine folks of Kentucky, as well as their boating friends from all over the country, know how to have a good time.
Check out more of Kevin Johns’ aerial images from Saturday’s poker run in the slideshow above.
From Bajas, Cigarettes, Concepts, Donzis, Formulas, Fountains, Hustlers, Nor-Techs, Statements, Sunsations and more, the variety of boats participating in the run (not to mention the representation of so many other types of spectator boats) was impressive as were the high-performance cats such as Mark Godsey’s 52-foot canopied MTI, Steve Marino’s DCB M35 Widebody, Carl Wesley’s 46-foot Skater and Chad and Heather Collier’s 44-foot Mystic.
Beyond checking out all of the cool boats up and down the docks, it was also cool to see such strong sponsor support between boat dealers, local marine service companies, stereo and detail shops, and many businesses, including machine shops, construction businesses, packaging groups and special event contractors, that are owned by participants. On hand with their local dealer, Day’s Boat Sales, the folks from Glasstream Powerboats appeared to have a great time showing off several models, including a triple-outboard-powered Diamond Series 36-foot center console.
Then there were the lucky winners. Sue Busch—the girlfriend of Kevin Hadley, who owns Hadley Performance Marine, one of the event’s sponsors—had the first-place hand and took home $3,000 and a handful of other prizes. The second-place winner was Timothy Webb, while third place went to Joe Klages of Pennsylvania. Also snagging prizes were fourth- and fifth-place winners, Cindy Kimbro and Cory Hakes.
The slideshow above includes images from the start of Saturday’s Lake Cumberland Thunder Run as well as the raft-up at Harmon Creek. Photos by Jason Johnson
While sitting down for an after-dinner beer amongst friends, Steve Beranek of Wichita, Kan., said he had a great time for the second year in a row at the event. And chances are he’ll back—and not just for the 2020 Lake Cumberland Thunder Run, but for the Lake Cumberland Poker Run in September, which is also hosted at State Dock.
“I love this lake—it’s beautiful, it’s big and the people are incredible,” said Beranek, who owns a DCB F32 catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 525EFI engines. “The conditions were great this year. The water was ideal, especially on Friday, and the air temperature was perfect. We don’t have lakes like this in Kansas so we travel to places like this, Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and Lake Havasu in Arizona to do some more serious boating. And because of that we’ve made friends with people from all over the country.”
Chances are there are 100 more boat owners just like Beranek who feel the same way. Why else would a June poker run in Kentucky hosted by a couple of dedicated boat owners (Tennessee’s Justin Lucas and Kentucky’s Dan Weiss) and their tribe of volunteers continue to do it for more than a decade? Leaving a question like that unanswered is not the best way to conclude a story, sorry, but you’ll just have to go to Lake Cumberland next June to find out.