From the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Northern Michigan to the Desert Storm Poker Run in Arizona, even today’s biggest go-fast boating events struggled in their first year. But with 30 boats already registered for the first Sarasota Blast On The Bay Fun Run on June 27, the Southwest Florida happening is off to a strong start.
With the entire Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival called off this year, the success of the first Sarasota Blast On The Bay Fun Run is crucial to the funding of Suncoast Charities For Children. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com
The event was announced just seven days ago. Its goal is to raise $40,000 for Suncoast Charities For Children, which draws a significant portion of its annual operating budget from the now-cancelled Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival anchored by the also-cancelled Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix.
“We have 30 boats so far, which is great,” said Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of Suncoast Charities For Children who also is the lead organizer for the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, which would have celebrated its 36th birthday this year. “We are shooting for 100 boats. This fundraising event is critical for us.”
While most of those registered so far for the Blast On The Bay Fun Run are local to the Sarasota/Bradenton area, interest is gathering from around the Sunshine State and elsewhere. Daniel Garcia, III, the founder of Keys Island Runners group in Key West, is planning to head up for the run with a couple of friends in two boats. (Garcia is promoting the event on the group’s Instagram page, which has 20,000-plus followers.) New Jersey’s Chris and Quinn LaMorte, who keep their 36-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran iSarasota for the winter, are planning on enjoying the event.
Well-known Sarasota locals planning to participate in the run include veteran offshore racers Ryan Beckley, Grant Bruggemann and Billy Glueck, as well as Brock and Blake Gratton. Based in Sarasota, Shore Thing Storage has stepped up as the event’s Admiral Sponsor. Erickson Marine, a Sarasota-based Nor-Tech dealer, is the Commodore Sponsor. And late this week, Nor-Tech also signed on as an event sponsor.
“As sponsors, of course will be in the fun,” said Chris Erickson, the son of Erickson Marne founder Bill Erickson. “We’ll bring a Nor-Tech. I’m just not sure which one.”