Despite that the annual Desert Storm Poker Run Street Party in advance of today’s poker run boasts a mile-long display of boats and other high-octane toys and vendors, you can’t really call it a boat show. The street show, which takes over McCulloch Boulevard in downtown Lake Havasu City, Ariz., attracts a range attendees from hardcore high-performance enthusiasts to local residents just enjoying a carnival of high-octane distraction.
As it was in 2021, this year’s Desert Storm Street Party was simply massive. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.
Call it a happening and you’re a lot closer to a good description. But even that comes of up short.
“Oh my gosh, it was crazy,” said longtime exhibitor Devin Wozencraft of Southern California-headquartered Wozencraft Insurance. “It was definitely as big as last year—and I have displayed at the street party every year since it started. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., it was wall to wall.
“Just to walk across the street, you had to play ‘Frogger,’” he added, then laughed.
Said photographer Jeff Helmkamp, who has been working harder than ever capturing images for speedonthewater.com and Wozencraft, “I think it was a little busier than last year.”
Wozencraft’s exhibit was in the neighborhood of Mercury Racing, River Dave’s Place and Barrett Custom Marine, which certainly didn’t hurt traffic. But by all accounts, the mile-long McCulloch Boulevard exhibition was packed from during peak hours when the sun—and the 90-plus-degree temperatures—started to drop.
Enjoy more images from last night’s Desert Storm event in the slideshow above.
The DCB Performance Boats display was, as usual, one of the hotspots with its extensive showcase of catamarans.
“Just crossing the street was a challenge,” said Tony Chiaramonte of the El Cajon, Calif., company. “Dude, it was nuts.
“But it was great to be there to support all of our amazing DCB customers, as well as supporting the entire event,” he added.
Florida’s Eric Belisle, an MTI 390X owner and a former president of the non-profit Fort Myers Offshore organization, made the trip to Lake Havasu for the first time and he and his wife, Keri, were impressed.
“The street party is pretty cool—there was a ton of people there,” Belisle said. “The lake seems really nice. It’s a lot different landscape than what we are used to.”
With multiple card stops and no mass start for the participants, the Desert Storm Poker Run kicks off this morning and will last through much of day. Helmkamp will be perched on a 50-foot Nor-Tech for the day to capture the action, while Wozencraft and his crew will take their traditional spot on a barge—sponsored by his insurance and finance business and the Havasu Springs Resort—for the first card stop.
“It’s going to be a great day,” Wozencraft said.
Teague Custom Marine’s Cherilyn Noack, who said she was still in a fog from the nonstop commotion at the Southern California company’s booth as of 9:30 a.m. this morning, was looking forward to spending the day on the water with her husband, Josh, in their 26-foot Adrenaline catamaran.
“I literally didn’t leave the booth from the time we set up until we broke it all down,” Noack said. “I had two family friends with me and the three of us were taking transactions pretty much the entire time. I don’t recall a point where we didn’t have a line at the booth. I’m usually great with taking pictures for social media and I have no photographic evidence after 2 p.m. because I could barely keep up with running credit cards and talking to clients and other people who follow us online.
As always, Wozencraft had exceptional representation at the Desert Storm Street Party.
“People loved all the new gear and, from my perspective, the crowd felt very savvy, more than usual,” she added. “The gear is always an attraction but nothing like Bob Teague. I think my dad had a constant line of people waiting for a turn to talk with him and get a picture with him. People we’re excited to see him and the Skater on the tilt trailer.”
Editor’s note: Look for ongoing coverage of the 2022 Desert Storm Poker Run on speedonthewater.com.
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