For the first time in a few years, covering the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Northern Michigan fit into my family’s summer plans. My wife, Stephanie, and daughters, Morgan and Colbie, joined me there two years ago and everyone had an enjoyable time. Steph bonded with Michigan residents John and Julie Tokar, who own a radical Outerlimits SV 43 canopied sportboat (above), and the kids, well, let’s just say they won’t forget the Boyne Mountain Resort waterslides and zipline adventures.
Set to celebrate its 17th anniversary this year, the Boyne Thunder Poker Run hit the COVID-19 chopping block. But that didn’t stop a decidedly unofficial show—and some serious fundraising—from going on in Northern Michigan. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
So we were all a bit bummed out when what would have been a sweet family getaway ended up getting cancelled months before its scheduled mid-July dates in response to escalating pandemic restrictions and guidelines. Far more concerning to me as a reporter who’s covered the event many times, however, was what would happen to important fundraising the annual event provides for a couple of local charities. Boyne Thunder isn’t just a good time for 100-plus performance boat owners and their friends. It raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonprofit organizations that depend on it.
But then something wonderful happened. Between the official cancellation of Boyne Thunder and what playfully became known as Boyne Rumble by those who were going to run their boats whether the poker run happened or not, money began pouring in to the official event organizers from its participants and sponsors.
According to Bob Alger, a steadfast member of the poker run organizing committee, and Kelsie King-Duff, executive director of Boyne City Main Street, more than $50,000 is going to be donated to the two longstanding beneficiaries of the event, Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain.
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