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Pirates Of Lanier Poker Run Organizers To Honor Woodruff

Set for September 14-17, the resurgent Pirates of Lanier Poker Run will celebrate John Woodruff, one of the founders of the event on Georgia’s Lake Lanier, during its Friday night captains meeting and welcome reception ahead of Saturday’s main event.

“In addition to our sponsor awards, we are going to present a special tribute award to John Woodruff,” explained Sheridan Bazemore, the event’s lead organizer. “When I asked him if I could dedicate something to him he was very excited. It’s a well-deserved award and I’ve already started designing it.”

One of high-performance powerboating’s most generous and colorful individuals, John Woodruff will be honored during the 2023 Pirates of Lanier Poker Run. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Well-known in high-performance powerboating circles for his charitable giving and outreach, as well as his Windship-named 48-foot MTI catamaran and color-matched helicopter, Woodruff was on board in 2014 when the event attracted a record-setting 301 boats and raised more than $400,000 for charity. He ended his official involvement with the event in 2017.

Though the past few years have found him less enmeshed in the go-fast boating world than he once was, Woodruff—a true bon vivant—remains a cherished member of the community and one of its most unforgettable and gracious personalities.

“He’s a legend.,” Bazemore said.

“I am proud to accept this award from the Pirates of Lanier Poker Run after working my ass off from 2011 through 2016 to make it the success it was,” said Woodruff. “The last three years of my involvement we raised $400,000 each year year for our charities, but the best part for me was all the good and lasting friends I made along the way. I thank each and every participant for the help and all the fun we had. Windship is alive and well.”

More than 100 high-performance catamarans, center consoles and V-bottom sportboats currently are registered for the event. Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones has even put the Lanier happening on his summer poker-run tour and he and his wife, Jackie, will tackle it the run in Top Gun Project 1130, their Cigarette 38 Top Gun.

Said Bazemore, “We’re expecting many, many more high-performance boats to register by September.”

Editor’s note: Mr. Woodruff’s comment was added after this story originally went live.

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