While several high-performance catamarans and V-bottoms reportedly rafted-up this morning to watch the P1 SuperStock USA boats race on the Jacksonville (Fla.) River, the “big shows” on the water happened Friday and Saturday during the Jacksonville River Rally Poker Run event. Friday’s raft-up on the river pulled in approximately 40 boats and the poker run, which lived up to its reputation of attracting some of the finest go-fast boat hardware on the planet and did not disappoint this time around, reportedly brought in almost 60 exotic cats and V-bottoms.
Angela and Mike Goldbaugh hosted go-fast boat event road warriors Yvonne Aleman and Greg Harris for the Jacksonville poker run. All photos courtesy/copyright Jeff Gerardi/Freeze Frame Video.
Among the participants this year were Yvonne Aleman and Greg Harris, who caught a ride on Late Fee$, a 38-foot Donzi ZR with 700-hp engines owned by their friends Mike and Angela Goldbaugh. As dedicated as performance-boat enthusiasts come, Aleman and Harris have the spent part of two years traveling from their home in South Florida to major go-fast boat events around the country. However, the Jacksonville run, especially now that it’s back in the hands of its original organizers (read the story), remains one of their favorites.
Jacksonville attracted an array of killer hardware, including Gino Gargiulo’s 48-foot Lamborghini-themed Marine Technology, Inc. catamaran.
“It was a great run with very happy and laid back participants,” said Harris. “The fun run included free dockage and a wings and beer party on Friday night. Support from the City of Jacksonville included a fireworks show on the river to end last night’s dinner.
“The organizers centralized all the events,” he added. “You could walk to everything from the hotel (Hyatt). And there was a great spectator turnout at the start and at the lunch stop. All of the entrants I spoke with said that they’ll be back.”
According to Harris, the auction during Saturday night’s party raised enough money to send 14 kids to Camp Amigo, The Children’s Burn Camp in North Florida and more money is expected to be donated from the entire event to benefit the camp.
“After almost two years of traveling the country for different boating events, this one has definitely shot to the top of my list of favorites,” said Aleman. “The waterways are great, it was very well organized, everything was convenient, the hospitality was wonderful and most importantly, it was for charity!”
Segments of the Jacksonville Poker Run wind through the city from which it takes its name.
T.J. Bailey, the owner of the popular boatfreaks.org online community, has participated in the Jacksonville Poker Run five times in the past eight years. This time around, he took his girlfriend, Spring Willaims, and a few other friends on the run in his 32-foot Active Thunder.
“With the Pyburn family taking back the reins led by Bill Sr. and Bill Jr., the run was brought back to a much more relaxed atmosphere,” said Bailey. “The Pyburns and their wonderful team always go out of their weay to make sure everyone is well taken care of, and most of all that you can have an awesome time off and on the water while you’re in Jacksonville.
“It was a throwback to the more-laid-back beginnings of poker running and Jacksonville’s original formula,” he added. “Great family and friends coming together and having an absolute blast on the water, and for a much-needed charity.”
Spring Williams (fourth from left) and friends at the last weekend’s Jacksonville Poker Run. Said Willaims, “The hardware was gorgeous as expected, but what really grabbed my attention were the fabulous and sexy bikinis that the ladies sported.”
Added Williams, “I am lucky to have such a wonderful boating family. The Jacksonville Poker Run expanded this said family and made my heart smile in more ways than one. TJ and I are definitely looking forward to doing this run again next year.”
Editor’s note: Check out even more photos in the speedonthewater.com Jacksonville River Rally Poker Run gallery or for a complete look atphotographer Jeff Gerardi’s images visit the Freeze Frame Video site.