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Return to Long Beach Goes Well for SCOPE Poker Run

According to Bill Steiner, president of the Southern California Offshore Powerboat Elite, the return of the SCOPE Poker Run to Long Beach, Calif., last weekend was well received. SCOPE—with help from the event’s title sponsors, Nordic Boats and IMCO Marine—decided to mark the 20th anniversary of the organization by bringing its annual poker run back to Long Beach.

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A handful of boats entered in Saturday’s SCOPE Poker Run gave rides to military members and veterans on Friday, then turned to salute the USS Iowa. Photos courtesy Ray Lee/Speedboat Magazine

After a couple of years in San Diego, the Queen Mary and downtown Long Beach served as backdrops once again to this year’s run, which was hosted dockside at Hotel Maya and included stops in Newport Beach, Catalina Island and Los Alamitos Bay.

Steiner said more than 40 boats and 100-plus people attended the poker run. Starting on Friday, SCOPE members took to the water to give rides to nearly 50 active military and veterans from Long Beach Harbor to the USS Iowa in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Once all the boats arrived at the USS Iowa, they passed the historic military vessel in single file, pointed their bows toward the ship and turned off their engines. The USS Iowa PA system came to life with the operators of the floating military museum thanking the boaters for offering rides to the veterans and for honoring this country.

On Saturday morning, drivers and participants attended a pre-run safety meeting and stood to honor the American flag while John Wayne’s “America, Why I Love Her” played over the loudspeakers. Steiner said that once the meeting finished, participants made their way to the boats, pushed off the docks and followed IMCO’s 39-foot Nordic V-bottom out toward the Queen Mary for a group photo.

Following the picture, the boats exited the breakwater and headed toward Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. From there drivers headed for Avalon, with many of them stopping for a quick lunch on shore before heading back to Los Alamitos Bay for the final card stop.

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In his family’s 39-foot Nordic, IMCO Marine‘s Fred Inman, Jr., led the group out for the start of this year’s poker run.

Upon returning to Hotel Maya, the group gathered for drinks, dinner and dancing on the waterfront. The musical entertainment was provided by 1980s cover band One Hot Mess. As is tradition at most SCOPE events, longtime member Ray Lee, who owns Speedboat Magazine, sang his best rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”

For the past three years, the poker run has supported Operation Gratitude, a charity that is dedicated to providing care packages to active military members and their families. During the dinner portion of the evening, Steiner, SCOPE Board Member Wayne Lee and other club members were able to raise more than $10,000 for the charity.

“It’s a lot of work, but SCOPE has some diehard members and sponsors who always step up to the plate to make this all possible,” said Steiner when asked about the difficulty of putting together such a large event. “I want to especially thank Randy Davis of Nordic Boats and Fred Inman of IMCO Marine for always supporting our club and the powerboating community.”

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