When it comes to owner gatherings, whether it be the bar-setting MTI Owners Fun Run from Miami to the Florida Keys, the Cigarette Owners Rendezvous hosted on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks by former Cigarette dealer Performance Boat Center or the annual DCB Regatta in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., the “stories” are pretty much the same. A great time hanging with like-minded friends and making new ones while boating in and around a favorite destination.
The fleet of MTI models on hand at Hawks Cay Resort for the company’s seventh annual MTI Owners Fun Run in the Florida Keys was quite impressive. Photos by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images
This year’s seventh annual MTI Owners Fun Run, which left Miami last Thursday for Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key and saw 59 boat owners and their friends and family stay through Sunday and Monday, falls into that same category, which makes writing a story about the event slightly challenging because the news isn’t breaking nor is there much of a conflict or resolution.
So the easy way to do so in this case is to let the attendees explain what they enjoyed about the event and let ace photographer Tom Leigh’s images help tell the story. There was, of course, the news that MTI delivered six new boats in time for the fun run, and that was reported on Thursday.
Leigh, who hails from Lake Havasu City and has shot the MTI Owners Fun Run the last few years for the Wentzville, Mo.-based company, captured another impressive assortment of images and said he had a lot of fun doing so once again.
New to the “MTI family,” Tennessee’s Chad Collier, who attended the run with his wife, Heather, in their 2018 MTI-V 42 they purchased last summer, said he had fun at his first MTI Owners Fun Run.
“It was great to see everyone,” Collier said. “It was a first-class event by a first-class company!”
Taylor Scism, MTI’s client relations manager (pictured with her mom, Cherell, and dad, Randy, during the white party dinner celebration on Friday night), explained that the casual affair included a stop at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo for lunch on Thursday, followed by a variety of lunch stop options in the area on Friday and a white party dinner and awards at Hawks Cay Resort that evening. A sandbar raft-up was planned for Saturday followed by another dinner at the resort. Sunday, Scism said, was a free day as some folks opted to head home with others staying one more night and heading back on Monday.
“That was a great run—it was extremely organized and very well put together,” said Nate Michel, the Louisiana-based owner of a 40-foot MTI he completely revamped a few years back named Cloud IX. “Randy (Scism, MTI’s founder and owner) and his team do an amazing job with the hospitality. The white party was put together very well, the food was decent and the drinks were easily accessible. I won an award for “It’s Not A Race” (laughs). My boat was screaming this weekend. We ran fast. The conditions coming home were a little testy on Sunday but nothing we couldn’t overcome. We made it from Hawks Cay to Miami in 58 minutes.
“I can’t wait to do it next year,” Michel added.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the MTI Owners Fun Run.
Brett Manire, co-owner of Performance Boat Center, said several representatives from the dealership were on hand to support their customers and the MTI team as usual.
“I had an absolute blast this year,” Manire said. “With any of these trips there is always some amount of work and some amount of fun. Still, everyone on our team remains focused on why we’re there—to promote, take care of our customers and make new deals. The fun comes second, and I’m happy to say we accomplished all of the above.”
The owner of an outboard-powered 34-foot Pilini Marine catamaran, New York’s Brian Farley, who was the guest of Texas-based MTI 390X owner Chris Humphrey, said he had a great time.
“The MTI Owners Fun Run was amazing—the whole thing was top-shelf,” Farley explained. “From the staff taking care of washing and covering all the boats to the white dinner party, it was unlike any other run I have ever done. The 390X is an amazing piece. The attention to detail is incredible and it’s the best-riding outboard cat I have ever been in—and I’ve been in a lot of them.”
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