When it comes to community-focused events in the performance boat industry, there are some great ones out there. One that comes to mind is the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Michigan where the town rolls out the red carpet, the event raises a good amount of money for charity and many of the attendees are local—well maybe not from Boyne City or Charlevoix exactly, but from all parts of Michigan. The Pirates of Lanier Family Poker Run is another one that stands out.
But after attending the Big Cat Poker Run a little more than a week ago, I’m starting to think the Northern California event, which raises money for the Discovery Bay Lions Club, takes the cake in terms of its community feel. Not only do many of the participants live (full time or part time) in Discovery Bay, the host city of the annual poker run, they also welcome out-of-towners with open arms, care deeply for the community and are not afraid to give back and make their voices heard.
That was definitely the case this year as the poker that includes a sponsor/VIP dinner on Thursday, a fun run on Friday and the poker run in and around the California Delta on Saturday raised nearly $100,000 for the Lions Club. With help from an enormous list of sponsors, the nearly 70 registered boats and the 300 participants, this year’s event raised the bar in terms of its organization, fun factor and overall generosity.
The participants also pulled out dozens of “Stop the Tunnels” signs for the beginning of the poker run to protest the controversial Delta Tunnels project proposed by California Governor Jerry Brown and Southern California water contractors. The display was organized by several local boaters in coordination with the Save the California Delta Alliance, a public interest association committed to working with local, state and federal government to create a balanced state water plan that keeps the California Delta a safe and healthy environment while providing clean water exports for other areas of the state.
Check out the slideshow for more of Bryner’s photographs from the Big Cat Poker Run.
Speedonthewater.com contributing photographer Erick Bryner, the owner of Firedrill Productions in Orange County, Calif., had an amazing time shooting the event and becoming an honorary member of the Discovery Bay community. Bryner shared many of his top-notch photos with us, 20 of which are included in the slideshow above.
Editor’s note: Look for a full feature on the event in the next Speed On The Water digital magazine that will be available for download soon.