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HomeEvent CoverageSmall-Town Perfection Defines The 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run Block Party

Small-Town Perfection Defines The 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run Block Party

Last night in downtown Clayton, N.Y.—population 1,731—Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones couldn’t walk more than a few feet without someone stopping him to say hello. Nor could Mike Griffiths of Mercury Racing, Speed Racer MTI catamaran owner Michael Tandoi, high-performance marine insurance man Devin Wozencraft, industry legend Craig Barrie of Donzi Marine, Clayton-based Seabound Yachts company-owner Jeremy Cohen and so many others enjoying the seventh annual 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run this weekend.

And that is the point of street celebrations ahead of poker runs in the small towns that host them for participants and sponsors. Block parties such as last night’s affair in Clayton don’t just provide entertainment and build enthusiasm in advance of the poker runs. They bring an already close-knit community that much closer.

Big boats displayed in a charming small town are the foundation of the 1,000 Island Charity Poker Run Block Party. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.

“The 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run has been a bucket-list event for me for the past four or five years,” said Jones, who is nearing the midpoint of his annual summer poker run tour with his wife, Jackie. “Last night was fantastic.”

Originally from Upstate New York and set to marry in October, Chad Shutter of BRP Marine Custom in Denver, N,C., and Ashley Gerthoffer will enjoy tomorrow’s poker run in Saddle Up, a 42-foot Statement Marine V-bottom with owners Shane and Vicki Franks from Benton Harbor, Mich.

Today, members of that community will take Make-A-Wish of Central New York children and their families for rides on the St. Lawrence River, the aquatic stage for tomorrow’s poker-run performance. The rest of the day will find many of the 90 registered powerboat owners and their guests here for the weekends exploring the waterway or just relaxing back at the 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel.

And of course, poker runners will continue to arrive, launch their boats and find their docking spots throughout the morning and afternoon. It is, after all, a school day and not everyone has the luxury of playing hooky for a couple of days.

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From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. locals and out-of-towners mingled on a block filled with high-performance powerboats from DCB Performance Marie, Donzi Marine, MTI, Mystic Powerboats, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats and more.

Beyond Make-A-Wish rides, nothing is scheduled today until the “Stereo and Light Show” competition kicks off at 8:30 p.m. at the Harbor Marina docks. Smart money is on Kelly O’Hara’s 36-foot MTI catamaran called Holy Cow!!! to take top honors in the stereo battle. As for the light show contest, it’s wide open and should be spectacular.

The celebration will continue with live music starting at 9 p.m. and ending at midnight on the patio of the 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel.

Said Jones, “The 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run has been a bucket-list event for me for the past four or five years.”

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