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Photo Essay: Welcome To The Show

You could make a compelling case—and we wouldn’t argue with you—that there’s no better place to be right now than Key Largo, Fla., at least if you love performance boats and hate cold weather. The Miami International Boat Show and Florida Powerboat Club Poker Run that follows have long-delivered a winter escape for go-fast powerboat enthusiasts. But some winters, this one in particular, need more escaping than others.

Why is Kentucky’s Shelby Mattingly smiling? She’s in Key Largo, Fla., enjoying the poker run with her husband, Chris, in their 46-foot Outerlimits V-bottom and taking in a boat show rather than trying to stay warm back home. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

With the Miami International Boat Show a scratch for 2021, that role has fallen solely on the shoulders of the Florida Powerboat Club’s liked-named poker run, which as reported on speedonthewater.com is producing a boat show of its own this weekend at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo. Most of the poker run and exhibit boats arrived yesterday. Though the display area was predictably quiet, as much of it was still being set up, Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones and company are expecting a big turnout today, tomorrow and Sunday.

Who wouldn’t want to hang out at a boat show hosted by a legendary waterfront tiki bar, particularly when the rest of the country is frozen?

The event is even better for the likes of Jesse Neumann and Don Verkuylen, who respectively hail from the domestic tundras of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Neumann took delivery of the first Nor-Tech 500 Sport Center Console just in time for the event. Likewise yesterday, Verkuylen ran his new Outerlimits SL 52 with the Florida Powerboat Club pack.

Representing almost every major builder, yesterday’s poker-run fleet was more than 90 boats strong.

And while Long Island, N.Y., is a whole lot warmer than pretty much anywhere in Minnesota or Wisconsin this week, Ray Gremaux was delighted to escape it in his beautiful new Mystic Powerboats M4200 luxury center console.

Of course, most participants in this weekend’s event aren’t taking delivery of new boats. But with this weekend’s show at Gilbert’s, that’s something Jones and his exhibitors are hoping to change for the 2022 event.

If there’s a better place to be than Key Largo right now, we’re not aware of it.

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