In buying his twin-engine Baja 405 sport cruiser a couple of years ago from the Pier 57 Motorsports facility in Counce, Tenn., Robert Benoit of Madison, about four hours to the south, became good friends with the powerboat dealership and service center’s longtime representative Carey Downs. Downs and Jeremie Floyd, the husband of the company’s Marsha Floyd, died in a nighttime boating accident last year.
Initial planning for a memorial poker run this summer celebrating Carey Downs (shown here) and Jeremie Floyd are beginning.
“I went with Carey to a couple of events in Florida, the Emerald Coast and Key West poker runs,” said Benoit, a 53-year-old automobile and financier. “Carey introduced me to boating lifestyle and community and fell in love with it.”
“I got a new hobby,” he added “I gave up golf. Now, I just play with boats.”
To celebrate Downs and Floyd, who he didn’t know but is emphatic about including in the event, Benoit would like to organize a memorial poker that he hopes will happen in Pickwick, Tenn., sometime in July or August. Having never organized of an event of this kind, he has reached out to the high-performance powerboating community through a thread he started on offshoreonly.com, a popular online portal. Benoit said he spoke with Marsha Floyd and Pier 57 Marine Motorsports founder David Woods—and both liked the idea of a memorial event—before he posted on the website’s General Discussion board.
“I am looking for everything,” Benoit wrote in his post. “I need organizers, volunteers, sponsors, idea people and participants. I am located four hours from Pickwick and I really need some local support. I need your help if you are able so that we can pull this off in a short period of time.
“I have never tried to organize a poker run and if it was left to my own devices it would never happen, but with your help we can do it,” he continued. “I will be going up to Pickwick this weekend to start to lay the groundwork and determine a date to hold the event.”
Marsha Floyd said that she spoke to David Woods and that they support the idea.
“I think it would be really nice for the local people around here,” said Floyd. “There are tons of people around here who knew Carey and Jeremie. They left the world with a lot friends.”
Editor’s note: Robert Benoit can be reached via email at [email protected]. Speedonthewater.com will provide updates on the progress of this event.