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Joey Gratton Lives On in Sarasota Fun Run

gratton_funrun_torrente_sotwFrom center consoles and sportboats to outboard-powered catamarans and offshore race boats, more than 60 boats came out for the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run in Sarasota, Fla. Photo by Flavia Torrente

Ryan Beckley, one of the most enthusiastic and affable offshore racers in the sport, has been organizing a New Year’s Day fun run in Sarasota, Fla., for the past decade. But last year the run became much more meaningful to Beckley and many others when he dedicated it to fellow offshore racer and Sarasota resident Joey Gratton, who died at the 2011 Key West World Championships.

“Following the 2011 races in Key West—pretty much the worst week of everyone’s life—we had Joey’s funeral and after that people just didn’t want to do anything,” said Beckley, who met Joey and his wife, Priscilla, when he moved from Key West to Sarasota nearly two decades ago and has been friends with the family ever since. “With the [2012] run coming up, I asked Priscilla and the boys [twins Blake and Brock] if we could do our New Year’s Day run in memory of Joey. So we changed the name and raised some money for the Joey Gratton Foundation.”

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