Last weekend, Rick Bowling, a former offshore powerboat racer and well-known figure in the recreational go-fast boating world, tackled the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Northern Michigan in Gone Again, his 37-foot Talon catamaran. Later today, he’ll arrive in Upstate New York for this weekend’s 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run.
A couple of weeks later, he’ll run his Mercury Racing 1350-powered cat, which was built in 1994 as an offshore raceboat but was converted for pleasure use more than a decade ago, in the Lake Erie Offshore Performance Association Thunderfest Poker Run To Put-in-Bay in Ohio.
Rick Bowling ran Gone Again in last weekend’s Boyne Thunder Poker Run and also displayed it in the event’s Friday night street party (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The three-event summer tour is a road trip that the Northern California-based Bowling, who sold his first Gone Again catamaran—a 32-foot Skater—to former top-speed shootout competitor Kenny Mungle, has wanted to take for years. So far, he and a couple of friends, mechanic Pat Philips and fellow driver Pete Epidendio, have logged more than 3,000 miles hauling the 37-footer from its home-base in Alamo, Calif.
“I’ve always wanted to do this and I’ve been watching Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance do it for years,” Bowling said. “We did the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run a few years ago and the Lake Powell Challenge a couple of years ago. Last year, we hauled the boat to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. This year, I picked out the Boyne Thunder and 1,000 Islands Charity events because they’re only a week apart and not all that far from one another. And I’ve always wanted to do them.
“Then I tell Devin about it and he says, ‘Oh man, you have do to Put-in-Bay, too—that’s one of the best and it’s about a week after 1,000 Islands,’” he continued. “So after 1,000 Islands we’re going to haul the boat to Detroit, leave it with Chip Miller at his marina and fly back to California. Then we’ll fly back to Detroit, pick up the boat and haul it to Put-in-Bay.”
No stranger to stunning waterways as he keeps Gone Again at his second home at Lake Tahoe during the summer, Bowling said he was delighted to be part of last weekend’s Boyne Thunder event. The waterfront homes on the shores of Round Lake in Charlevoix were particularly impressive, he said, as was the natural scenery.
“They look like governor mansions, those houses in Charlevoix,” Bowling said. “And that part of the country is just so beautiful and the people are super nice. The run itself is great, too, and the water is beautiful. After Boyne Thunder, we toured Mackinaw Island. The next day, Rick Mackie of Mercury Racing gave us a tour of that faclity in Wisconsin—I have been a loyal Mercury customer for 56 years.”
The trip has not been without its headaches. Bowling encountered three blown tires and two failed wheel bearings during the journey.
“I’m glad we allowed extra time between events,” he said, then chuckled. “And I’m glad we carry all of our tools with us.”
While wet weather in is the forecast for this weekend in Clayton, Bowling is undaunted.
“This was always my plan, to do a trip like this, with the boat and hauler,” he said. “It just took a little longer than I thought it would. But we’re doing it now.”