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Northern And Southern Poker Runs On Tap This Weekend

Though it’s only mid-June, the go-fast boating season has already reached the “two organized events per weekend” stage that will continue throughout the summer. But that is, as the saying goes, a high-class problem.

Thanks to Del Flores of the Spartan Powerboat Club, the Atlantic City Poker Run event is returning with a two-poker-run format. Photo courtesy/copyright Mike Goode.

This weekend has two such events on tap, the Spartan Powerboat Club’s Corey Molinari Atlantic City Poker Run in New Jersey and the 15th annual Lake Cumberland Thunder Run in Kentucky, which is produced each year by Tennessee-based boating enthusiast Justin Lucas.

Flores said he already has 42 boats registered for his event, as well as a helicopter and a photographer hired to capture it. The Atlantic City Golden Nugget Resort and Casino will once again host the weekend-long event.

“This Tuesday marked the second anniversary of Corey’s sudden death,” Flores said. “As I promised, the Atlantic City Poker Run will always be called the Corey Molinari Atlantic City Poker Run. The club has had a real growth spurt this season—the first event saw record numbers Memorial Day weekend, and this event is showing a potential of 50 boats and over 200 poker-runners.”

“This event is a little different because we actually have a double poker-run weekend,” he continued. “We will draw cards on Friday night during the banquet and then on Saturday we will have another run to Breezes in Tuckerton (N.J.) for the Total Marine-sponsored poker-hand drawing.”

While online registration is closed for the Lake Cumberland Thunder Run, on-site sign-ups will remain open through Saturday morning. Current registration stands at 60 boats.

A founding member of the Kuttawa Cannonball Run organizing team, Jeff Hoefling ran his Outerlimits GTX 39 V-bottom with his girlfriend, Audra Meyer, in the 2022 Lake Cumberland Thunder Run. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Lucas said he expects 20-plus participants will go the on-site registration route. He’s hoping for an 80- to 100-boat fleet.

“Personally, I would rather have a run that size than something bigger,” he explained. “I can take care of that number of participants way easier. Everything from registration check-in, lunch, dinner, card turn-in, awards and more runs much smoother and is more manageable at those numbers. I have more time to focus on other things that need attention during the run than I do when we have 125-plus boats. The year we had 180-plus boats was pretty hectic.

“That’s not a knock on those pushing big boat counts, it’s just something that’s been on my mind,” he added.

Having enjoyed the Kuttawa Cannonball Run with his family in their Statement Marine 360 catamaran earlier this month, Justin Lucas has an event of his own to produce this weekend.

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