Unlike the stickers on the boats and the cover of the 10th anniversary program handed out at the event, I’m not ready to anoint the Lake Powell Challenge hosted by Antelope Point Marina as the “world’s greatest poker run.” It definitely would get strong consideration though—and not just from me, from some extremely experienced boaters who have traveled the country participating in events.
George Argyros and his crew had a blast running in MiTI Fun, his 48-foot MTI catamaran, during the 10th annual Lake Powell Challenge. Photo by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images
Of course I’ve been to some amazing poker runs throughout the years, and after attending the Lake Powell Challenge for the first time last weekend, it definitely takes the cake in terms of most unique terrain and the biggest fundraiser I’ve ever witnessed in person, boating or otherwise. Get this, the 10th annual event raised a mind-blowing $632,000 and change for the JDRF Mountain Valley Chapter, about $125,000 more than the year before. I’d also have to say the intimacy of it all was different thanks to pretty much everything taking place at Antelope Point Marina in Page, Ariz., and almost all of the participants staying on site in houseboats.
There are definitely “locals,” those folks who live in Page or own a houseboat at the marina and frequent the beautiful Colorado River-fed lake that is located primarily in southern Utah on a regular basis. Participants such as George Argyros, who owns the MiTI Fun 48-foot catamaran from MTI, Darren Housel, who owns a 42-foot Fountain Powerboats V-bottom, Mark Schouten, who owns the El Gato Patrón 43-foot MTI, and Mike Stevenson, who owns the stunning white and black M44 Widebody from DCB Performance Boats. But there were just as many first-time participants from different parts of the country because, as Argyros explained to me, “the word of mouth continues to spread that this is a good, clean, fun event with camaraderie and scenery unlike any other poker run in the country.”
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