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Highlights From The 15th Annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run

Far from the Lake Michigan that presented itself to participants of the Boyne Thunder Poker Run the past several years, boaters taking part in the 15th annual event based out of Boyne City, Mich., were treated to practically glass conditions on the massive lake on Saturday morning before and after the lunch stop in Charlevoix.

boyne18 boden sunsation

Although the water on Lake Michigan during the 15th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Michigan was fairly calm, some boats, such as this 36-foot Sunsation, managed to find some cruiser wakes to launch off. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

While at the drivers meeting this morning at Veterans Memorial Park on the west side of Lake Charlevoix, I spoke with several people who said the forecast was calling for calm seas, but who was I to believe them after seeing the aerial images captured by speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden the last couple of years and after my own experience running in the event four years ago?

“I honestly can’t believe how smooth it is out here today,” said Dan Kleitz of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats who was running customer Dave Burgess’ SL 41 powered by triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Lake Michigan so flat. I should have brought my new 29 out here, it is that nice.”

It was that nice. Well, besides the fog we encountered heading out of the channel from Charlevoix to Lake Michigan in the 41-footer. That only lasted for two or three miles though before it cleared up and the boats pushed the throttles forward and headed north on the lake. It was so nice that on the ride back to Charlevoix following the second stop, I was texting back and forth with my colleague Matt Trulio explaining to him that I couldn’t believe how calm it was out there. Needless to say, he was a bit jealous he wasn’t at the poker run.

Take a look at several more Pete Boden images in the slideshow above.

Don’t get me wrong there were a few bumps here and there, but most of them were boat wakes from the 100-plus-boat fleet that showed up to enjoy the charming town, beautiful waterways and raise money for Camp Quality USA and Challenge Mountain. It definitely made this journalist’s job easier as I took a few notes and did my best Boden impression, snapping a handful of pictures from the 41-foot Outerlimits as some recognizable boats went by.

Beyond the on-water experience today, which was a blast, it was awesome to see so many amazing boats as well as the folks who build them in attendance for the well-organized event. Between Kleitz, John Cosker of Mystic Powerboats, Peter Hledin of Skater Powerboats and Randy Scism of MTI, the event was a who’s who of seriously fast boats. Scism was on hand to deliver Mark Schouten’s new 43-foot catamaran El Gato Patrón and Cosker was running in Low Altitude with the turbine-powered 50-footer’s owner, Tom Borisch.

It would be almost impossible to list all of the notable boats on hand, such as the Skater 388 owned by Sterling Performance Engines’ Mike D’Anniballe and the canopied Mamba Outerlimits owned by American Custom Marine’s Mike Knoblock, but there were plenty of stunners at the event. The 52-foot Lamborghini-inspired Super Veloce G7 MTI owned by Don Verkuylen was a huge hit at the Stroll the Streets of Boyne City festival on Friday night and the new Rockette 438 Skater powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550 engines drew tons of eyeballs at the docks sitting close to Todd Fountain’s 46-foot Skater Tom Cat and Bob Bull’s orange and black 48-foot MTI cat.

Check out the slideshow above for some of Jason Johnson’s pictures from the poker run.

Parked on another set of docks at Boyne City Municipal Marina Watch Your Back, Michael “Doc” Janssen’s bright yellow canopied Outerlimits SV 53 and MAX, Burton and Yvette Kirsten’s canopied 39-foot Outerlimits catamaran, were photographed by hundreds of spectators. Of course there were many V-bottoms from the likes of Cigarette Racing Team, Donzi Marine, Fountain Powerboats and more, not to mention a good mix of center consoles from Deep Impact Custom Boats, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, Sunsation Boats and more.

With a full, fun day on the water in the books, it’s time to head back to poker run village at Veterans Memorial Park and share stories with the rest of the participants in the 15th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run.

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